Ben Wallace scored eight points. Dwayne Jones scored two points. D-Leaguer Billy Thomas scored three points. And that LeBron guy nearly added a triple-double as the Cavs rolled to a 116-86 victory over the Wizards in game two.
The 30-point margin of victory – the largest in 112 games of Cavs postseason history – belies how physical and intense of a game this was. Well, at least for the first two and a half quarters until the Wizards packed it in and I stopped watching midway through the fourth to finish some homework.
But I’ll make this real simple – right now, the Wizards are more concerned about physically laying a beating on the Cavs then they are on actually beating them on the scoreboard. And that’s why the Cavs will take a 2-0 series lead into the Verizon Center on Thursday night.
This game had much of the same feel as Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pistons. It was an utter annihilation of an opponent who mentally checked out long before the final whistle. For the Pistons, it was LeBron’s Game 5 outburst that had them on the ropes. For the Wizards, it was LeBron taking every body blow and bouncing back to seal the win Saturday.
(As a Cavs fan, all I can think about right now with the Pistons and Wizards these past two postseasons is the final scene of Spaceballs: “Thank you for pressing the self-destruct button…have a nice day!” And yes, I officially became the first sports columnist to quote Spaceballs. Don’t judge me.)
Unfortunately for Wizards fans – such as my roommate, a Bethesda, Maryland native – it doesn’t look like things will get much better for them. Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas are at less than 100 percent. Antwan Jamison is playing miserably. Antonio Daniels hasn’t been as effective as he usually is against the Cavs. And DeShawn Stevenson – good ol’ Soulja Boy himself – is still caught up in the smacktalk.
(Did anyone else see him celebrating his “and one” at the start of the fourth quarter when the Cavs were up by 20-plus? Unbelievable. Stevenson’s got “Larry Hughes” written all over him – just playing for fun, doesn’t care about team results one bit. According to Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto, Soulja Boy is averaging just 6.6 points per game on 35 percent shooting in 17 regular season and postseason games against the Cavs the past two seasons. Gotta love it!)
On top of everything else, Brendan Haywood will serve at least a one-game suspension for his flagrant foul on LeBron. That means that Andray Blatche and Darius Songaila will have to guard Z in Game 3. That means that Z should score 25-30 points, minimum, and if he doesn’t touch the ball in the post on the Cavs’ first five possessions I’m officially ordering an investigation into Mike Brown’s coaching.
Some other key trends to note in the Cavs’ victory: 27 assists and just 10 turnovers. Good ball movement, not a lot of stagnant offense (after the opening few minutes at least). How about Big Ben feeding Andy under the hoop for the nifty reverse layup? When you have passing like that, from those two players, you’re going to win games.
Also, the Cavs hit 10 3-pointers and were plus-15 on the boards. It’s all those little things adding up to one of the most complete efforts put forth by the team this season.
Obviously, LeBron (30 points, 12 assists, 9 boards) will be great 95 percent of the time. All he needs is one or two other players to step up for this team to win consistently. And when EVERYONE steps up, like tonight, this team can be something special.
It’s just too bad that it doesn’t happen more often, but better now than never, right?