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

Cavs rout Wizards; take series lead

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – Larry Hughes scored 27 points and pulled down
seven rebounds as Cleveland downed Washington, 97-82, in Game 1 of their
Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup at Quicken Loans Arena.

Game 2 of the best of seven set is scheduled for Wednesday in Cleveland.

LeBron James added 23 points, nine boards and seven assists for the second-
seeded Cavaliers, who eliminated Washington in the first round of last year’s
conference playoffs. Zydrunas Ilgauskas chipped in with 16 points and eight
rebounds, while Drew Gooden finished with 10 points.

“I am ready to step up on any given night,” Hughes said. “This is only one
game and we have to keep pushing. We have a chance to take control now.”

Antawn Jamison had a game-high 28 points and 14 boards for the short-handed
Wizards, who are without injured All-Stars Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler.
Jarvis Hayes was the only other Washington player in double figures with 18
points.

“Antawn was really going well in the post and he did some things on the
perimeter that helped us,” said Washington head coach Eddie Jordan. “It was a
game.”

The Cavs entered the final frame with a seven-point cushion and slowly started
to pull away. Ilgauskus’ 18-foot jumper from the left corner gave Cleveland an
85-73 lead with 7:27 left.

About two minutes later, Ilgauskus deposited a pair from the charity stripe to
give the Cavs a more than comfortable 15-point cushion, 89-74.

The Wizards never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way as Cleveland
coasted to the finish line.

“It’s all about the team that wins four games,” said James. “We got one game
out of the way and we have three more.”

James got loose for two early layups in the opening minutes and the Cavs raced
out to an early 11-4 advantage. Washington recovered a bit from there and drew
within a point, 11-10, when Hayes converted a four-point play with just under
eight minutes to go in the opening frame.

The Cavs rebounded, however, and finished the stanza strongly, taking a 27-20
edge into the second quarter.

Cleveland led by as many as nine points, 40-31, in the second after Donyell
Marshall drained a three with 4:49 left and took a seven-point lead into the
locker room, 48-41.

The Wizards drew within two, 54-52, when Jamison nailed a jumper with about 8
1/2 minutes left in the third. But, the Cavs responded again and opened up a
double-digit lead, 74-63, when James dropped in a free throw with under a
minute left in the frame.

Antonio Daniels scored the final four points in the frame, however, to make
things manageable, 74-67, for the Wizards heading into the fourth quarter.

“When it was time to make plays, I thought, we missed a layup,” said Jordan.
“Their defense was good, but we’ve got to finish the plays. Whether it was
good defense or great defense, we’ve got to find a way to make an open shot,
finish a layup, that’s all.”

Game Notes

The Cavs got a big scare with 8:03 left in the third when James rolled his
left ankle. The superstar nailed a mid-range jumper and came down on the foot
of Etan Thomas. He rolled around in pain on the floor but composed himself and
remained in the game after a time out…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.

CLE WAS