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
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
A free throw by James and two by Gooden got the Cavs within
85-80, and Cleveland was still alive when Arenas missed an
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
"I thought he still played great -- 26 (points) and nine
(rebounds). That's a bad night for him?" Butler said. "That's
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."
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."