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Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs finish the job, up 1-0

By admin Published: April 22, 2007

--It wasn't pretty, but the Cavs ground it out to take the lead in the series so today is a smashing success with a 97-82 win.  Yet neither team played all that well and the Cavs let the Wizards hang around for three quarters before they really turned it on.  Still, this was exactly the kind of game the Cavs want to play all series long, slow and grinding.  In fact, I'd give their defense a A today.  Two points of emphasis were accomplished, they kept the Wizards guards out of the lane on drives and made it tough for Antonio Daniels and DeShawn Stevenson to get clean looks by denying and contesting.  Let Antawn Jamison get his, Washington can't win without help.  Lots of jump shots, lots of misses for the Wizards.
--The Cavs also did a great, great, great job of limiting second-chance points (Wiz had just 2) and fastbreak points (Wiz had just 1).  Once again, Washington has no chance when this happens.
--The Cavs and LeBron James played their best on offense in the first quarter.  After then, LeBron was just 3-of-10 shooting.  But he did get to the line a bunch of times by driving, which kept the Cavs in descent position during the game.  So he had 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, a quality effort.  The Cavs had 16 points in the paint in the first quarter and just 32 for the game.  This, of course, must improve.
--Zydrunas Ilgauskas played very well, especially in the fourth quarter when he had 11 of his 15 points.  That is very big for both the Cavs and his confidence after last year.  He cannot be defended by Darius Songalia, who fouled out, and if he gets position all Etan Thomas can do is foul.
--I thought Larry Hughes was the player of the game for the Cavs, even if I didn't love his decision-making all the time.  He had a number of excellent plays on defense and led the Cavs with 27 points.  Much of it came on jumpers, which as you know I think is dangerous over the long haul, but today it worked so I tip the cap.

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