Sunday , Apr , 29 , 2007 Oly Sandor

LeBron James And Cleveland Getting By Against Washington

Last night, Cleveland beat Washington to build a 3-0 lead in their playoff series. But the critics attacked LeBron James and company for their lethargic play. Can we hate on the Cavaliers for coasting through their series with the Wizards? Is the criticism justified? …

What Happened: The must be fans of rapper Talib Kweli because they’re doing just enough to ‘get by’ in their series against the .

The Cavaliers looked unfocused and nearly squandered a 17-point half-time lead, but still squeaked out a 98-92 win against the Wizards to take a 3-0 series lead.

had another solid game, chipping in with 30 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds. However, James, like most of his teammates, struggled towards the end of the game, scoring just 10 of his 30 points in the second-half.
added 24 points to go with 8 rebounds, while had a double-double, chipping in with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

The Wizards, despite being down at half-time, never quit and kept the game close. scored 17 of his 38 points in the third quarter, helping Washington close Cleveland’s lead.

However, the Wizards went ice-cold in the fourth quarter, connecting on just 6-of-20 attempts from the field. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, made their fourth quarter shots, getting key baskets from Sasha Pavlovic and Ilgauskas to secure the win.

Game 4 is Monday in Washington.

Reaction of Cleveland forward LeBron James on getting the win:
"We’re not playing against a high school team."We’re not playing against an NCAA team. It’s the NBA. No matter what personnel is on the floor, we have to win the ball game, it’s as simple as that. We win by 20, we win by one or we win by six, like we did tonight, a win is a win.” (ESPN)

Reaction of Cleveland guard Larry Hughes
on the Cavaliers losing their focus:
"At times, we do go through a little lax. But I think we’re at the point in the season where we definitely have another level that we can tap into — and that’s our goal." (CNNSI)

My Take:
Washington and Cleveland both deserve credit. The Wizards could have quit when Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas went down with injuries. But they’ve continued to compete. Last night’s second-half comeback showed their character.

GMs and coaching staffs learn a lot when adversity hits their club. And the Wizards’ front office has discovered that their players have a tremendous amount of pride and will play through misfortune. Next season, with Butler and Arenas healthy, Washington will once again be a force in the Eastern Conference.

I think the critics should ease up on Cleveland. All season, they’ve shown an ability to turn it on at the right time. That’s exactly what they’re doing against Washington. The Cavaliers are taking care of business and conserving energy for future rounds.

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