Cavs 121, Wizards 85
--So this was didn't finish the way anyone thought it would. This was historic tonight, folks. The Cavs set records for points in a quarter (43 in the third) and their 39 assists and six turnovers is a first since they started keeping the turnover stat. There's a bunch of the other records, but please go look at my story on Ohio.com for that. I do write for a newspaper, too, by the way. --So a bunch of stuff went the Cavs way, they got all the loose balls, Larry Hughes was dunking, Devin Brown was hitting 3-pointers, etc. That stuff isn't going to happen but a couple times in a season. More important, the Cavs' ball movement was off the charts. It has been getting better and better over the last month but you can see they are really committing to it now. Sasha Pavlovic had seven assists, that's a career high and he did it in 19 minutes. It's easy to mock Mike Brown's drive-and-kick offense, but there's no doubt they have been working on it and it's getting better. --Bad break to lose Sasha to a foot injury because he was just starting to break out of his slump. He has a sprain and there's an MRI set for tomorrow. He was able to leave the arena without crutches, but he might be out a bit. I have a good idea why he's breaking out, though. His dad, Dusan, is finally here. Usually he and the family come for Christmas but he wasn't around last month. He was a great player in his day and he's got the hard Cold War stare that just cuts right through you. When Sasha was in his first year with the Cavs, Paul Silas once said to me "I don't like that guy, he gives me dirty looks because I don't play his son," I said, "Paul, he looks at everybody that way." He doesn't speak any English, which is too bad because I'd love to interview him. Sasha talks to him on the phone after every game, even if it is 5 a.m. in Serbia. In fact, all Sasha does is talk to people at home on the phone. His bill must be outrageous. Anyway, Dusan is here and I expect Sasha to continue to play better when he gets back. --Zydrunas Ilgauskas got a lot of frustrations against Brendan Haywood out tonight. Haywood's had quite a bit of success against Big Z over the last few years. Z went 10-for-10 tonight and none of them, in my memory, was an offensive putback. They went to him and he executed, especially on his mid-range jumpers, which had been shaky of late.
Pregame Starting lineups
Wizards: Antonio Daniels, DeShawn Stevenson, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Brendan Haywood Cavs: Larry Hughes, Sasha Pavlovic, LeBron James, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Officials Steve Javie, Brian Forte and last seen doing a Cavs game in San Antonio, Mark Wunderlich
--This is a interesting matchup of two hot teams. The Wiz are getting huge seasons from Butler and Jamison, who the Cavs have always had trouble guarding. Supposedly they are playing much better defense this season, too. We'll see about that. But they have some talent on their bench, especially Darius Songalia and the rookie showing lots of promise, Nick Young. --The Cavs will need to hold serve here, they are already down 0-1 in this series and there could be a tiebreaker. These two teams could end up playing in the playoffs again, right now they'd be the 4-5 matchup. --Lenny Wilkens is here and is being honored at halftime. Before the game he had a photo op with Mike Brown and Danny Ferry. Ferry and Brown were smiling, Lenny wasn't. When working the book The Franchise with Terry Pluto (ahem, available at all local book retailers and online at Amazon.com), we interviewed Lenny, former Cavs GM Wayne Embry and former owner Gordon Gund. Even 20 years later, the emotions involving the Ferry-Ron Harper trade are very raw. All three men got pretty heated when talking about it and all three have their own version of events. It was such a hot spot and murky, Terry and I didn't really address it all that much in the book because it would've just been these guys yelling about each other. Here's the point, Lenny's is still mad about it today and even though he probably doesn't have anything against Danny, it's probably not good for his blood pressure to be posing for pictures with him.
Halftime -- Cavs 52, Wizards 46 --Cavs are shooting 54 percent at home and are only up four. That should be somewhat concerning. When the Wizards went zone the Cavs settled for lots of jumpers in the second quarter after they lived on feeding Z early on. --Even though it looks ugly, recently Z has been able to finish with back to the basket moves. Giving him touches only helps because even if he misses, there are not usually long rebounds and it gives the Cavs a chance to get back on defense. --Nick Young posterized LeBron on a dunk early in the second quarter. It was pretty impressive. We'll see if LeBron gets him back. --Larry Hughes is celebrating his 29th birthday by airballing layups. --So far the Wiz bench as outplayed the Cavs, that group didn't play all that well in the second quarter. They'll have to pick it up in the fourth. --Expect Jamison or Butler to get hot in the second half.
Postgame -- Cavs 121, Wizards 85
Stars LeBron James, 23 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists Zydrunas Ilgauskas, 24 points, 6 rebounds Drew Gooden, 18 points, 10 rebounds
Quotes Eddie Jordan: "It was painful, bordering on embarrassing. We played them without LeBron (in December). I certainly remember LeBron saying very shortly after our game that he was going to remember all the butt kicking they got while he was out and people talking about him and that when he came back he was going to get some payback. This was one of those paybacks." LeBron: "Offensively we were unbelievable tonight. We were near perfect."