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Cleveland Cavaliers

Three and almost out

By admin Published: April 29, 2007

Washington -- Cavs take Game 3 98-92.  At least it was entertaining, right?  Not that anyone in NE Ohio was paying attention to anything but the Browns and NFL Draft.  Well, in case you weren't watching...

--Zydrunas Ilgauskas is playing some of the best basketball of his career.  In this series he's shooting 61 percent and tonight not only had 24 points, but huge baskets to stop the Wizards' run in the third quarter and when the game was tight in the fourth.  The Wizards cannot defend Z with the way they are guarding LeBron James right now (double-teaming him on pick-and-rolls).  Especially in attempting to use Darius Songalia and Antawn Jamison when he's setting up in the post.
--Speaking of defending Z, you may've seen the last of Brendan Haywood.  He played 10 minutes tonight and the only thing he recorded in the box score was a foul.  Meanwhile, he lost Z completely at least twice and the big man got easy hoops.  I know you can't defend a 7-foot-3 guy with a 6-foot-8 guy, unless he's Ben Wallace, but I understand why Eddie Jordan would rather go without sometimes.
--I thought LeBron played great overall tonight.  He made some mistakes, he held the ball for too long a couple times.  But in the fourth quarter he controlled the game yet didn't score a single basket.  He had five assists in the fourth and all of them came out of an executed play, a few under late-game pressure.  This is what many, especially me, complained about all season.  That LeBron would pound the ball and the offense would stop late in games.  Well right now they look like they've lived and learned.
--I commend Mike Brown for having the vision/trust to put Sasha Pavlovic back in the game for the last 45 seconds.  Sasha was playing awful, making mental and physical mistakes (see the foul on Jamison on the 3 and the 24-second violation a few seconds later in the fourth).  Oh, and the three travels.  Now, in that spot the Wizards are going to take giving Sasha a wide open 3-pointer over LeBron going 1-on-1.  But the Cavs made them pay for the double team, which is the story of this series to me.
--Sasha is not playing well this series, he's playing tight and making lots of unforced errors and committing some bad fouls.  Which is probably expected for a playoff rookie.  Daniel Gibson also made a couple of mistakes tonight, he was not ready to handle Antonio Daniels, but overall I think he's contributed OK when he's been out there.
--Jamison has played great in this series and I don't think he's getting much national credit.  That 21-4 run in the third quarter was regrettable in some respects for the Cavs.  They had some bad offensive possessions (especially two Sasha travels and a shot clock violation) in there and missed a defensive assignment or two, but mostly the Wizards just made some shots.  I knew it was going to happen at some point.  Jamison was great in that stretch, he made some tough shots.  But he used all his energy.  He had nothing left down the stretch.  He only had one basket in the fourth.
--Speaking of that run, I thought another key sub there by Brown was putting Eric Snow in.  He picked up two assists and to two rebounds that helped the Cavs regain some momentum.
--The Cavs played great defense in the fourth quarter, especially around the basket.  That included Pavlovic when he got a blocked shot in the last minute when he was actually playing the center spot when the Wizards went ultra-small.  Over, the Wiz were 6-of-20 shooting.  In Game 2, the Cavs held them to 6-of-24 shooting in the third quarter.  Washington can't recover from that as they are currently made up.
--In another plugged leak, the Cavs were 16-of-18 at the line and are shooting 80 percent in the three games.
--I was in the locker room before the game just when the Browns made the trade with the Cowboys to get Brady Quinn.  I always seem to be glued to the TV in there, back in November all were attached to the Ohio State-Michigan game before a Cavs game in D.C.  Anyway, LeBron is a Cowboys fan and so he was all over it when they were on the clock.  He said the Cowboys needed a defensive back but all the top DBs were off the board at that point.  When the Browns made the trade there was a gasp in the room.  There are no Browns fans on the Cavs, really, except for maybe Eric Snow.  I think everyone was just interested in what happened to Quinn.
--One more thing, just like the Cavs have a playoff slogan, which is "Rise Up," Washington has one too.  It is "All in," perhaps playing on the poker boom and referring to the fans getting involved.  Problem is, they're not all in, their two best players are all out.  Am I the only one to notice this?

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