Here's part two of the running diary. For the first part, click here.
7:22 – Oh my God, the Indians are up 1-0 in the first. Offensive explosion! Look out!
7:29 – Looks like I missed a leadoff homer from Grady. I spent the rest of the inning enduring strikeouts from Casey Blake and Franklin Gutierrez as well as the incoherent babbling of Matt Underwood.
7:33 – We’re back, and so is Wally baby! Ball rotation equals a good look for Wally, who knocks down a three.
7:35 – Cavs are getting killed on the glass. That shouldn’t happen, not against this team. Butler’s putback gives Wizards a five point lead.
7:37 – Cavs have switched LeBron onto Butler and Szczerbiak onto Stevenson. I like that move. Time to step up, LeBron. Meanwhile, another Wally turnover has me considering homicide.
7:38 – Now Wally misses a layup. Has he switched bodies with Eric Snow or David Wesley for this game?
7:39 – LeBron ends a ridiculous possession – that included a missed Wally three – with a triple make of his own. The Cavs are in the lead but this game has devolved into an absolute, utter mess. “It’s been a good one,” Marv says as TNT goes to commercial following a Cavs turnover (Z throws it 20 feet past LeBron.) Marv must be watching a different game. 55-53, good guys.
7:41 – Two more scoreless innings for Cliff Lee, are you joking me? It’s like he’s pitching in a high school JV league.
7:42 – Well, LeBron wasn’t happy with the first half, saying it was the worst they played this series. Uhh, worse than either one in Game 3?
7:44 – The ref was really going to give LeBron an “And-1” if he made that shot? You’ve got to be kidding. But he makes both free throws – someone check the temperature in hell. 57-53 Cavs.
7:46 – I’ve never, EVER seen the Cavs get hammered like this on the boards. I mean, maybe back in like 2001 or 2002 when we were God awful, but still. Meanwhile, LeBron misses another jumper, another Wizards offensive rebound, and just like that, the 11-0 run is history. 59-57 Cavs.
7:48 – The flow and tempo of this game has really picked up. My question is this: Does Andy realize that, at 6-11, he can dunk the basketball? It’s been a legal play in basketball for like 40 years. I don’t think anyone in the league has missed more layups than Andy.
(Actually, the official ruling is that Ben Wallace has missed wayyyyyyy more layups and bunnies, but Andy is a close second. Thanks to my statisticians for picking that up.)
7:51 – Cliff Lee pitched a scoreless third. His ERA is now smaller than Mario Manningham’s GPA.
(It’s 7:51…and Michigan still sucks.)
7:54 – Andy, what the HECK are you doing??? What are you doing??? STOP STOP STOP STOP!!! The Cavs have completely lost control of this game. 67-63 Wizards.
END OF QUARTER THOUGHTS (69-65 WIZARDS)…
1. The turning point in this game is the sequence of about four offensive rebounds in a row that the Wizards had and finally converted into points to stop the 11-0 Cavs run. The next possession, another offensive rebound and another basket. If the Cavs lose this game, those possessions are the reason.
2. Butler scored seven points in the third after only having two in the second. He has 23 points, and if he gets to 30, the Cavs are in trouble.
3. Eight of LeBron’s 15 field goal attempts are threes. Please stop, LeBron. Please attack the basket. Please.
4. Wally gets my award for “Worst Performance From a Pro Athlete In a Playoff Game”. Mike Brown needs to send him to the locker room right now.
5. The Wizards have nine offensive rebounds. It seems like 90.
8:01 – Turnover to start the fourth. Grrrreat.
8:03 – Andy blows another layup. The Cavs do not deserve to win this game. We’re about to lose at home to a team that missed 12 shots in a row at one point. 71-65 Wizards with 10 minutes left.
8:05 – With Haywood out of the game, there is NO ONE at the hoop who can slow LeBron. He just proved it on his last move to the basket. I hope the Cavs bench recognizes this. Who’s going to stop him? Songaila? Jamison? They couldn’t keep my mom from scoring around the rim. 73-70.
8:07 – I just watched Adrian Beltre make arguably the worst throw in the history of baseball trying to start a double play. Not only was it in the dirt but it was 10 feet wide of second base. Did I mention it was Ryan “I’m carrying a refrigerator on my back when I run” Garko going to second?
8:10 – ANOTHER tip-in from Z! He’s ridiculous! And LeBron follows with a monster dunk to put the Cavs back on top! The fans are going nuts! I can’t stop using exclamation points!
(And yes, Wizards fans, it looked to me like Songaila might have been hit by LeBron before Z’s dunk, and then Songaila got popped again on a pick by Z to set up LeBron’s flush. Did you think Darius Songaila would get the benefit of the doubt on the road though?)
8:14 – The NBA Cares, and so does Dwayne Jones. Wait, is he still on the team? Smart decision by Jordan to bring Haywood back in. At the very least he’ll shove LeBron into the third row.
8:15 – Sure enough, he commits a foul on LeBron’s drive. The bigger story is LeBron making both free throws.
8:17 – Butler can’t finish; LeBron can. Huge swing there. 78-75 Cavs.
8:19 – Jamison takes from the Gilbert Arenas School of Free Throw Shooting, I see. Have I mentioned how un-intimidated I am by Antawn Jamison?
8:20 – Just saw Wally in the background of a camera shot sitting on the end of the bench. He looked sad. LeBron cans two more freebies. 80-77 Cavs with 4:40 left as this is turning into a free throw shooting affair.
8:22 – Ooh, Hack-a-Ben begins. Let’s see how this works out.
8:23 – Umm, not so much. Time for Ben to sit. See ya in the next game, Ben.
8:25 – What Brendan Haywood just did to Z is illegal in 38 states and half of Canada. 81-80 Cavs. It’s taken five minutes to play the last 20 seconds as both teams march to the free throw line. And there’s still 4:20 on the clock.
8:26 – Tied at 82 with a timeout on the floor and less than . I’m going to go out on a limb and say LeBron’s about to absolutely take over, especially with Haywood and Songaila both with five fouls and Jamison apparently switching onto him defensively.
(By the way, Marv and Reggie have been miserable tracking the players’ foul counts. They said Haywood had five fouls before he tried to deflower Z, and they’ve been off with several other ones throughout the game. Come on guys, this is the playoffs.)
8:31 – Another terrible offensive possession, before the jump ball even. But the Cavs get a steal. Does anybody want to win this game?
8:32 – Haywood exits with I think his ninth foul and LeBron has a chance to put the Cavs back on top.
8:33 - Atta boy, LeBron.
8:33 – GREAT decision by LeBron giving that ball up in transition because he never really had a handle on it – might have been a turnover. West was able to complete the play strongly and sink the free throw. 87-82 Cavs with just 1:47 left. And yes, it looked like LeBron hit Butler on the arm when Butler drove to the basket.
8:36 – You have Songaila taking that shot? Really? Z and Smith both ate him alive. Thank you, Eddie Jordan, thank you.
8:39 – Two terrible threes from the Cavs. You’ve got to be kidding me. Dumb foul by Joe Smith too. I’m pretty pissed right now.
8:41 – Daniels makes both free throws, LeBron holds the ball too long and doesn’t do anything with it, the Cavs miss three tip in chances and now the Wizards have a chance to win. Here we go again. 87-86 Cavs with 11 seconds.
8:42 – Butler goes right at LeBron and scores. Looked like he might have tapped his toes about seven times but that’s not a travel in the NBA anyways so I’m not complaining or upset about that. 88-87 Wizards with 3.9 on the clock. The Cavs have no one to blame but themselves. No one.
8:44 –Text message from my roommate Dan, a Wizards fan who’s back home in Maryland: “Just like always.” My response: “Expecting anything else?”
But this time, LeBron’s unable to finish from point-blank. Easily could have called Songaila for undercutting LeBron on the final play but you can’t expect to get that foul called. Plus, you could argue that Songaila was just getting out of the way, trying to slide away from LeBron and the play. Regardless, that play didn’t cost the Cavs the game anyway.
1. When the Cavs play without any energy, they are a very, very average team. They were solid defensively, but the offensive execution was non-existent.
2. After the Songaila debacle late, LeBron settled for ANOTHER three and missed horribly. If the Cavs score there, we go up three possessions – why settle for a three? Why? Then Boobie misses a three, Smith misses a jumper, the Cavs can’t come down with the loose ball…the last 1:47 of the game was terrible.
3. And who was the difference tonight? Caron Butler. Finished with 32 and made the game-winner over LeBron. He is the difference-maker on that team, not Jamison, not Arenas, not Soulja Boy.
4. The Cavs had terrible performances from Wally, Varejao, Smith and Brown (both Devin and Mike). And West was mediocre at best, and that’s only because of his three-point play late. So what do you think is going to happen when five of your nine players in the rotation are ineffective?
5. Z was absolutely phenomenal. I’m looking at the stats right now and the Cavs were +17 when he was on the floor. He made 8-of-11 shots and the Cavs wouldn’t have broken 80 points if he wasn’t tipping in all of those misses.
6. Just like last year, the Cavs are unable to close out a team at home. Yes, they did it with Detroit, but that series was over after LeBron’s superhuman Game 5 effort. This series should have been over after Game 5 also. The Cavs had Washington on the ropes with an 11-0 run but as I said at the time, lost control of the game when they couldn’t grab a defensive rebound.
7. Who here agrees with me that the Wizards are better without Arenas? I can’t be alone in that thought.
8. A sampling of away messages from my friends on AIM, all changed moments after the game: “damn it cavs”, “thanks cavs”, “Why do we suck???” and the one that probably sums everything up perfectly, “That’s Cleveland for you”.