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Cleveland Cavaliers

Final thoughts: Wizards 96, Cavs 85

By Jason Lloyd Published: April 25, 2012

Antawn Jamison said goodbye to Cleveland tonight, making official what already seemed so obvious. Tonight was his last home game and Thursday's game at Chicago will be his last game in a Cavaliers jersey.

Jamison has been everything the Cavaliers could have hoped for this season and more, despite his low shooting percentage and defensive struggles. What he has meant to Tristan Thompson's development and in the locker room in general has been invaluable and will be difficult to replace. I already wrote about it a couple weeks ago.

Jamison is a free agent after tomorrow. Asked if he has made up his mind about not returning next season, he said "I think we both have."

"I understand the importance of Tristan (Thompson) and these younger guys getting the opportunity to play," he continued. "I’ve taught them so much and it’s been fun teaching them, but it’s time for me to move on as well. I don’t know what the future holds, I don’t know what opportunity might present itself, but I definitely have a great feeling this is probably my last home game and tomorrow will be my last game as a Cav."

Jamison came here expecting to contend for a championship, then the rules of the game changed drastically and he was powerless to stop it. With one Decision, the Cavaliers went from contenders to rebuilders at the bottom of the NBA's scrap heap. But Jamison kept quiet this year, kept his head down, kept working and kept leading. And the Cavaliers will be better off for it.

The Cavaliers paid him a lot of money -- more than $30 million the last 2 1/2 years -- but he has earned the right to choose his next adventure. Whether that means signing with a contender in an effort to win a championship or go home to Charlotte and hold the same role as veteran mentor for the struggling Bobcats that he did with the Cavaliers, Jamison served his time here. He gave the Cavs everything he had and he did it in a professional manner. 

A lot of times the goodbyes are just lip service because it seems like the polite thing to say. But the Cavs will truly miss Antawn Jamison next year. So will I.

Stats

Cavs: D.J. Kennedy 12 points, Antawn Jamison 10 points, Samardo Samuels 9 points; Wizards: John Wall 21 points, 13 assists.

Key stat

With the loss, the Cavaliers fell into a three-way tie with the Kings and Hornets for the third-worst record in the NBA.

Turning point

When Byron Scott failed to put Kyrie Irving back in the game after the first quarter, the tanking theories took off. In his NBA debut, D.J. Kennedy led the Cavaliers in minutes played and points scored. 'Nuff said.

Quotable

“Coach Scott told me before the game I was going to get 10 minutes and I got 9:47. He owes me 13 seconds.” -- Kyrie Irving

“Maybe it does (seem suspicious). I guess if you are not close to the situation, a lot of people around the country might think so. But it’s legit." -- Byron Scott, on Irving's stomach flu

"Right now we have some pieces we feel real comfortable about and we have a lot of guys who are free agents going into next season we have to make a decision on. I really want them to feel when this season is over that they had a golden opportunity, they had every opportunity to show me exactly what they can do. And I think I've given guys enough opportunities and I'm trying to make sure these last games to do the same thing so when they do walk away, they can't ever say, 'I was never given an opportunity.' " -- Scott, on benching the starters and playing the reserves for the last couple of games

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