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Cavs Cavs Archive Expect A Different Wizards Team Tonight
Written by Rich Swerbinsky

Rich Swerbinsky
Swerb breaks down game two of the Cavs-Wizards series, taking a look at what went wrong for Washington in game one, and how they will look to change that in game two.  Having gone eight years without the privilege of watching my beloved Cavaliers play post-season basketball, this Cavs fan isn’t taking anything for granted despite how impressive LeBron and the boys looked in their game one romp over the Washington Wizards.

As misleading as the final score was, and as impressive as the Cavs looked, Antawn Jamison said it best:

"The thing about that game is, as bad as we played and as good as LeBron played, we only lost by 11 points," Jamison said. "We had some chances to cut into the lead and get ourselves back into the game, but we couldn't make shots or we turned the ball over or we couldn't grab a rebound. We just didn't play very well and, give them credit, they hit shots and were the more aggressive team."

The Wizards were awful in game one.  The Big Three missed 32 shots.  The team shot 3-22 from three.  They defended LeBron James terribly, looking tentative and unassertive on their double team rolls, which King James exploited brilliantly.  Gilbert Arenas had single digit points into the fourth quarter, and was not his usual aggressive self.  Antawn Jamison had a horrible game, rushing contested long range jumpers, and failing to make LeBron do any work on the defensive end.

The Wizards are a much better basketball team than the one we saw Saturday afternoon.  This team was 32-20 once they got Caron Butler into the starting lineup, and the Big Three was all health.  They were down 0-2 to the Bulls last year, and became one of just 14 teams in history to come back and win four straight to take a series after dropping the first two. Caron Butler pretty much summed up the teams mindset heading into game two tonight at The Q:

"I'm already tired of turning on the TV right now and seeing and hearing about it," said Butler, who made 4 of 14 shots and finished with 11 points and six rebounds in his first playoff game as a Wizard. "The phone is ringing. People are like: 'Did you hear what they just said about you?' That's fine. Let it all soak in. I'm going to keep answering my phone. I want to hear and see everything. I've got my antennas up and I'll definitely be ready Tuesday."

I’m expecting to see the following from Eddie Jordan’s bunch tonight …

~I expect the Wizards to continue to try and take away LeBron drives to the right, and to entice him to take more jumpers by sagging off of him a little more.

~Look for Washington to be more assertive in their double teams, and caught in “no mans land” less often.  The Wizards will pay closer attention to Donyell Marshall, and continue to allow Eric Snow, Larry Hughes, and Flip Murray to try and beat them from 18 feet out.

~A much more assertive Gilbert Arenas early and often.  Arenas is a flow player, and never got it going early, then looked to pass more often than normal in the second quarter.  In the fourth quarter, we saw the Arenas that torched this team on multiple occasions this season, and I think we see that Arenas from the get go tonight, even if he gets off to another slow start.

~More Etan Thomas and Michael Ruffin.  These are the Wizards two most physically imposing players.  The Wizards were completely unable to keep LeBron from the paint, and the soft Wizards did nothing to discourage him from coming back when he got there.  I expect a couple hard fouls on LeBron tonight, and more of these two guys.

~The Wizards will try and make LeBron work at the defensive end more.  Unlike game one, where they didn’t make him work at all.  LeBron shuffled from Jamison to Butler to Jeffries at different points in the game, spending the most time on Jamison … who repeatedly bailed King James out with rushed 23 foot jumpers.

~More Antonio Daniels.  The Cavs had a hard time matching up when Arenas, Daniels, and Butler were all in the game, and Daniels got off for 6 or 7 open jumpers on Flip Murray.

This is a big basketball game tonight, and a series changer.  Which ever team emerges victorious will have the upper hand in the series as it moves to the nation’s capital.  Should the Cavs win, they will have a 2-0 lead, and not *need* to take one of the next two games in D.C., where the Cavs haven’t won in three years.  If the Wizards win, they have stolen home court, and will have a good chance to run the series lead to 3-1 at home, where they were 25-16, and lit up the scoreboard this season.

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