Sunday , Apr , 22 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Cavs host banged-up Wizards in Game 1

(Sports Network) – The second-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers welcome the seventh-
seeded Washington Wizards this afternoon to Quicken Loans Arena for Game 1 of
the first round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs.

This is a best-of-seven series. Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday at Quicken
Loans Arena.

The Cavaliers needed the entire regular season to capture the No. 2 seed in
the Eastern Conference.This matchup should be deja-vu for almost every player
in this series, as the Cavaliers eliminated Washington in six games in the
first round of last year’s conference playoffs. Cleveland was then ousted by
Detroit in the next round.

LeBron James led the Cavs down the stretch and helped them claim the second
seed in the East after battling Chicago for the spot for quite some time.
After the Bulls lost to New Jersey and Cleveland ended the regular season with
its fourth straight win over Milwaukee, Chicago moved to the No. 5 spot.

Now the Cavaliers get a shot at packing Washington’s bags again. They won the
season series by a 2-1 margin and will take on a short-handed Wizards squad.
Washington will not have stars Gilbert Arenas (knee) and Caron Butler (hand)
for the entire playoffs after both were lost for the season due to injury.

And that pretty much sums up the kind of luck Washington will have in this
playoff series. With the Wizards without their top two guns, Cavs superstar
LeBron James will have nobody to exchange baskets with.

James, who led the Cavs in scoring (27.3 ppg) and assists (6.0) this season,
averaged 30.8 points in 13 playoff games last season. One of the most
dominating figures in the NBA today, James averaged 27 points, six rebounds
and six assists for the third consecutive year.

The Wizards are left with forward Antawn Jamison to be their Moses. Whether he
can lead his team into the second round of the playoffs remains to be seen.

Washington is in the postseason for a third consecutive year and is meeting
Cleveland in the playoffs for the fourth time. The only time Washington
defeated the Cavaliers in the postseason was when it took two of three games
in the first round of the 1977 NBA Playoffs.

The Cavs lead the all-time playoff series by a 9-7 count and have won six of
the eight home games against Washington in the postseason.

Head coach Eddie Jordan will have to devise a defensive plan to shut down
James, Larry Hughes and the inside force of Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

The Wizards were 15-26 as the visitor this season, while Cleveland was 30-11
at home.