Cleveland wins series 4-2 (Game 2 of 6)

Cleveland wins series 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, April 22nd
Game 2: Tuesday, April 25th
Game 3: Friday, April 28th
Game 4: Sunday, April 30th
Game 5: Wednesday, May 3rd
Game 6: Friday, May 5th

Wizards 89

(42-40, 15-26 away)

Cavaliers 84

(50-32, 31-10 home)

Coverage: FSOH

7:00 PM ET, April 25, 2006

Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

1 2 3 4 T
WSH 21 19 21 2889
CLE 23 16 24 2184

Top Performers

WSH: G. Arenas 30 Pts, 6 Reb, 6 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

Cle: D. Gooden 24 Pts, 16 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Wizards hold off Cavs, even series at 1-1

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Washington Wizards got mad, then got even.

Angry at allowing LeBron James to dominate them with a triple-double in Game 1, the Wizards roughed up Cleveland's superstar and downed the Cavaliers 89-84 Tuesday night to tie their Eastern Conference series at a game apiece.

Gilbert Arenas scored 30 points, Antawn Jamison added 21 and Caron Butler was the primary defender on James, who wasn't the same after he got wrapped up by massive Wizards center Brendan Haywood in the first quarter.

"Actually, that wasn't the plan going in," Arenas said of Haywood's hack. "Brendan just decided he was going to give a hard foul to let him know he was there. For some reason, that just threw him off a little bit."

James got 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his playoff debut, but he played like a mere mortal in his second postseason game as a pro.

He finished with 26 points on 7-of-25 shooting, and matched his career high with 10 turnovers. James also made some mental errors, including a costly one late when he made an out-of-bounds save under his own basket that was picked off by Arenas for an easy layup.

The Wizards, who returned to Washington after Game 1 to regroup, came up with all the right adjustments and snatched away Cleveland's home-court advantage.

"We destroyed ourselves in Game 1," Arenas said. "So we decided to come out and play better basketball."

The Wizards stopped James and also snapped Cleveland's 12-game winning streak at home. Instead of double-teaming the 6-foot-8 James, who dissected them with passes to open teammates in Game 1, Washington coach Eddie Jordan let Butler and Jared Jeffries guard him with no assistance.

"They had a great scheme by playing me 1-on-1," said James, whose 10 turnovers were a team playoff record. "I missed a lot of shots, layups that I usually make. They did a great job. I didn't come to play."

The series shifts to the Verizon Center for Game 3 in the best-of-seven series on Friday night.

Drew Gooden scored 24 points on 11-of-12 shooting and added 16 rebounds, and Larry Hughes had 16 points for the Cavaliers, who trailed 85-77 with 1:34 left following Arenas' gift layup and free throw.

A free throw by James and two by Gooden got the Cavs within 85-80, and Cleveland was still alive when Arenas missed an ill-advised 3-pointer.

Hughes' jumper made it 87-82, and James made two more free throws with 20 seconds left to pull Cleveland within three. Billy Thomas then missed a pair of free throws for Washington, and the Cavs looked as if they would get closer.

James rushed the ball up the floor, but instead of calling a timeout or trying a game-tying 3-pointer, he passed inside to a wide-open Anderson Varejao.

But as Cleveland's backup center was gathering himself for a shot, Arenas slapped the ball away. Varejao fouled Jamison, who made two free throws to ice it as the Wizards bounced back to knot what is expected to be a long series.

Arenas wasn't surprised James would pass up the shot.

"That's what he does," Arenas said. "He's a playmaker. He makes great decisions out there."

Getting nasty with James wasn't on the Wizards' drawing board, but it worked and they might as well stick with it.

"As long as it's not flagrant," Jordan said. "We're not the toughest team in the NBA, but tonight we brought it out."

Unable to slow James much in the opener, Washington decided to bang him around in the first half. The Wizards held him to just two points in the second quarter and Cleveland's star went 17:40 between field goals.

At one point, Cavs coach Mike Brown sat his superstar for 2:15 of the second quarter. During a timeout, Zydrunas Ilgauskas offered some advice to James, who was just 2-for-9 with zero assists and four turnovers.

"I thought he still played great -- 26 (points) and nine (rebounds). That's a bad night for him?" Butler said. "That's unbelievable."

Down by 11 points early, the Wizards started to play rough with James. First, Jeffries wrapped him up on a drive and then Haywood committed a hard foul to stop another attack by James, who initially took exception to the second horse collar.

"Hard fouls are going to happen," James said. "But that's just playoff basketball."

Game notes

Jordan downplayed an encounter with a profane fan, who yelled at Washington's coach as he left the floor at halftime. The Cavaliers released a statement saying they couldn't establish what happened and pledged their support of Jordan. ... James also had 10 turnovers on March 28, 2005, against New Orleans. ... Mark Price had nine turnovers on April 29, 1995, in a playoff game against New York. ... Brown, who led the club to 50 wins in his first year, received one first-place vote and finished eighth in coach of the year balloting won by Dallas' Avery Johnson. "He deserves it," Brown said. "A big-time coach, great team, terrific season. He's one of the guys I would have voted for." ... Jordan is impressed by the giant Nike banner of James that hangs across from the arena. "It's pretty intimidating, frankly, for a 51-year-old man like me," he said. "I don't know if it's intimidating to Antawn or Gil or Jared, but it's pretty intimidating to me. It happens to be right by the hotel where everybody stays."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 89 84
FGM-FGA 31-78 (.397) 30-83 (.361)
3PM-3PA 8-20 (.400) 3-12 (.250)
FTM-FTA 19-29 (.655) 21-29 (.724)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-40 13-47
Assists 13 14
Turnovers 12 17
Steals 10 8
Blocks 5 10
Fast Break Points 13 18
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (1/0) 22 (0/0)
Largest Lead 8 15

Top Performers

Gilbert Arenas Arenas
Points: 30
Reb: 6
Ast: 6
Stl: 4
Blk: 1
Drew Gooden Gooden
Points: 24
Reb: 16
Ast: 2
Stl: 1
Blk: 2