Final

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

Cleveland wins series 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, April 19th
Wizards86Final
Cavaliers93
Game 2: Monday, April 21st
Wizards86Final
Cavaliers116
Game 3: Thursday, April 24th
Cavaliers72Final
Wizards108
Game 4: Sunday, April 27th
Cavaliers100Final
Wizards97
Game 5: Wednesday, April 30th
Wizards88Final
Cavaliers87
Game 6: Friday, May 2nd
Cavaliers105Final
Wizards88

Cavaliers 100

(45-37, 18-23 away)

Wizards 97

(43-39, 25-16 home)

    Coverage: ABC/WatchESPN

    1:00 PM ET, April 27, 2008

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    CLE 24 30 26 20100
    WSH 28 16 29 2497

    Top Performers

    Cleveland: L. James 34 Pts, 12 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    Washington: A. Jamison 23 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Stl

    James scores 34 but West's 3-pointer biggest shot in Cavs' win

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- King James lost his crown.

    All right, so it was his burgundy headband that went flying when LeBron James took a shot to the noggin from DeShawn Stevenson, their simmering feud nearly boiling over. James kept his cool, allowing the flagrant foul to spark him and his Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Fast Facts

    • The Cavaliers hit 13 3-pointers, a franchise playoff record (their previous high was 11).

    • LeBron James became the 170th player in NBA history to record 1,000 career points in the postseason. He becomes the 3rd youngest in NBA history to reach that milestone, trailing only Kobe Bryant (22 years and 263 days old) and Tony Parker (23 years and 23 days old). James is 23 years and 119 days old Sunday.

    • The Wizards can pretty much blame rebounding for the loss in this one, being outrebounded 51-31 and 18-6 on the offensive glass.

    -- ESPN Research

    At game's end, James was just as collected, drawing waves of Washington Wizards defenders before dishing to Delonte West for a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds left. That shot, along with James' 34 points and 12 rebounds, led the Cavaliers to a 100-97 victory on Sunday and a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series.

    "There's been some extracurricular activities going on outside and inside this series," James said, "but I've been able to stay focused."

    The Wizards were ahead by a point with 3½ minutes left in the first half when James drove to the basket, and Stevenson came from behind and swiped a hand out, clipping the Cavs' star with what James said teammates told him was a closed fist before tumbling to the court. James kept his balance and stepped toward Stevenson, who got up and stepped toward James.

    They exchanged words, but that was it, before teammates stepped in between.

    "If we was on the park, something definitely would have escalated," James said. "But, you know, I guess that's what they want to do. They want to hurt LeBron James this series. It ain't working."

    Stevenson's take?

    "That's how it goes," he said. "It was a big game for us."

    Now the Cavaliers, who eliminated the Wizards in each of the previous two postseasons, have control, with Game 5 on Wednesday at Cleveland.

    James got help Sunday from more than just West, whose career playoff-high 21 points included five 3-pointers. Daniel Gibson made four 3s, and Ben Wallace had 12 rebounds -- part of a remarkable 51-31 edge on the boards for Cleveland.

    One small sequence that epitomized things: At the end of the third quarter, Joe Smith's three-point play followed two offensive rebounds and gave the Cavaliers an 80-73 edge.

    Wizards coach Eddie Jordan was succinct: "We didn't rebound."

    Antawn Jamison led Washington with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Caron Butler added 19 points. But it was Stevenson who was at the center of the key play.

    LeBron vs. DeShawn had been mainly an off-court rivalry, prompted in part by Stevenson calling James overrated, and extending to involve rap megastar Jay-Z and one-hit wonder Soulja Boy. James' pal Jay-Z created a song dissing Stevenson that was played at a D.C. club this weekend.

    "He's worth $500 million, and he's writing songs about me," Stevenson said before tipoff. "What does that say about DeShawn Stevenson? Ballin'!"

    But besides getting outscored by 21 points by James, Stevenson appeared to give him some motivation.

    "Was it a flagrant foul? I really don't know," said Wizards center Brendan Haywood, ejected from Game 2 after shoving James. "All I know is we weren't trying to give up a layup."

    James went 1-for-2 at the line after the foul, then made a 3 on the ensuing possession, all part of a 13-0 Cavaliers spurt.

    "That," Gilbert Arenas said, "got him mad."

    And yet, thanks to a suddenly effective Arenas, Washington had a chance to win what turned out to be a gem of a game, a nice change after Cleveland's 30-point victory in Game 2, and Washington's 36-point margin in Game 3.

    Arenas made two free throws with 57 seconds left to get Washington within two points. After James missed a jumper -- part of an 0-for-3 fourth quarter -- Arenas' 8-foot fadeaway with 28 seconds remaining made it 97-all.

    And from there, as West put it: "I'm pretty sure everybody in the gym, including their defense, thought [James] was going to take the last shot. And I think sometimes we forget this guy has great court vision. He made the right play."

    Which was dishing to an open West, who went to high school in nearby Maryland.

    It was strikingly similar to what happened in the first-round series between these teams in 2006. That time, the Cavaliers eliminated the Wizards in Game 6 when James found Damon Jones open for a go-ahead baseline jumper in the closing seconds of overtime.

    "Washington definitely probably had a flashback," James said.

    Even after West came through, Arenas had enough time to try to tie it again.

    But a player who built a reputation for clutch late-game performances before having two operations on his left knee hesitated before badly missing a 3 over West.

    Arenas was so "distracted" and "flustered" by the way things ended, he forgot about his postgame ritual of throwing his jersey into the stands to give a fan a souvenir.

    Whatever emotional lift he might have given his teammates, whatever excitement his mere presence might have given the crowd, Arenas was not exactly helpful at the outset. When he sat with 3 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter, his line gave whole new meaning to his nickname "Agent Zero": zero points, zero field-goal attempts, zero foul shots, one assist, one foul, and four of Washington's five turnovers.

    Arenas' first points didn't come until a reverse layup in the third quarter, and he finished with 10 in a series-high 32 minutes.

    "This is not my team," Arenas said. "This is Antawn's and Caron's team."

    Game notes


    Above Stevenson's locker, there was a sheet of blue construction paper Jordan gave his players before the series began. Drawn by a member of team's basketball operations department at Jordan's behest, it's labeled "Wizards Climb" and includes drawings and phrases meant to inspire. There are stick-figure men swimming to ".500" shore, others are climbing a rock labeled "Cleveland." There are boxes around words such as "Disciplined Aggression" and "Will and Determination."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    CLE
    WSH
    Points 100 97
    FGM-FGA 32-78 (.410) 32-70 (.457)
    3PM-3PA 13-28 (.464) 7-19 (.368)
    FTM-FTA 23-33 (.697) 26-33 (.788)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-51 6-31
    Assists 23 18
    Turnovers 19 13
    Steals 10 10
    Blocks 2 3
    Fast Break Points 12 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (1/0) 24 (0/1)
    Largest Lead 15 8

    Top Performers

    Cleveland
    Washington
    LeBron James James
    Points: 34
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Antawn Jamison Jamison
    Points: 23
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0