Cavs move to brink of sweeping Wizards
Washington, DC (Sports Network) – LeBron James posted 30 points and nine
assists, as the Cleveland Cavaliers moved to the brink of sweeping the
Washington Wizards in the first round of the playoffs with a 98-92 win at the
Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 24 points and eight rebounds for the Cavaliers, who
moved ahead 3-0 in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. Sasha
Pavlovic and Larry Hughes both netted 11 points, and Drew Gooden added 10
points and 12 boards for Cleveland, which has never swept a team in the
Game 4 is scheduled for Monday in the nation’s capital.
“Next game is going to be tought and we are going to have to come in here with
the right mind set, a defensive mind set, we ahve to share the ball
offensively, and try to limit their easy baskets,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown
Antawn Jamison had 38 points and 11 rebounds for the Wizards, who are on the
verge of being eliminated in the postseason by the Cavaliers for a second
straight year. Antonio Daniels contributed 20 points and 13 assists, while
Jarvis Hayes added 15 points for the Wizards, who rallied from a 17-point
third-quarter deficit yet failed to complete it with a win.
It was another defeat for the Wizards without Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler,
who are essentially out for the playoffs with injuries.
Holding just a four-point lead, Cleveland gave Washington an opportunity to
rally by committing a shot-clock violation. After trading possessions, though,
Washington’s Etan Thomas converted one free throw with 37.5 seconds left for
a one-possession game, 93-90.
Pavlovic, who was the guilty party on the shot-clock violation and whose foul
about a minute prior gave Jamison three free throws for a four-point margin,
drilled a three from the right corner with 25.4 seconds remaining, sealing
Roger Mason got a good look on a three-pointer and Darius Songaila’s shot got
blocked by Pavlovic. James’ two free throws with 5.7 seconds on the clock
solidified the victory.
Cleveland took an early lead on a 7-0 spurt finished by Hughes’ trey with 3:53
remaining in the first for a 19-13 margin, and led 26-22 heading into the
The Cavs blew the game open in the second. They went on a 13-4 run midway
through the stanza as Pavlovic’s layup with 4:01 to go put them ahead 48-36.
Cleveland held a comfortable 61-44 halftime advantage.
Washington promptly responded in the third, coming out of the locker room on a
21-4 burst, and Jamison’s layup tied the score at 65 midway through the third.
The Cavs reclaimed the lead, 77-75, heading into the fourth.
“We knew they were going to make a run on their home court, especially after
what happened in the first half,” James said. “We did not want that big of a
run, if they were going to make one. We have to clean up some things.”
Cleveland started to pull away by scoring six straight with the score
deadlocked at 81 and 9:06 on the clock. Gooden’s pair of free throws with 4:42
left put the Cavs up 87-81.
“We put in a lot of effort to come back, but they are a good team,” Washington
coach Eddie Jordan said. “They have been very physical in this series so far
and in the last two games they have hurt us on the boards.”
The Wizards shot 6-for-20 in the fourth quarter…The Cavaliers eliminated
Washington in six games last year and were then ousted by Detroit in the next
round…The Wizards are in the postseason for a third consecutive year and are
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 with Washington by an 11-7 count…Teh Cavaliers held
a 48-33 advantage on the glass.