CLEVELAND, April 25 (Ticker) -- One game after being victimized by
LeBron James' triple-double, the Washington Wizards gave the Cleveland
Cavaliers some triple trouble.
The high-scoring trio of Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and
Caron Butler came alive and lifted the Wizards to an 89-84
victory over the Cavaliers that evened their Eastern Conference
first-round series at one game apiece.
NBA TV highlights from Wizards-Cavaliers:
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The fifth-seeded Wizards found a way to corral James, who had 32
points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his playoff debut
Saturday but missed 18 shots and committed 10 turnovers - one
shy of the NBA playoff record - as the fourth-seeded Cavaliers
gave away home-court advantage.
During the season, Arenas, Jamison and Butler combined to
average 67 points, making them the highest-scoring trio in the
league. They managed just 48 on 15-of-47 shooting in Sunday's
97-86 loss but bounced back Tuesday.
"We stayed disciplined in our offensive possessions," Washington
coach Eddie Jordan said. "Guys were a little bit jagged out
there the first game, a little bit self-absorbed. Tonight we
just pulled for each other."
Arenas scored 30 points and made a pair of huge plays in the
final two minutes. His three-point play with 1:34 to go gave
Washington an 85-77 lead and he sealed the win by stripping
Anderson Varejao underneath with 10 seconds remaining.
Jamison overcame a slow start to score 11 of his 21 points in
the fourth quarter, when he made a pair of 3-pointers. He also
sank the clinching free throws after Arenas' steal.
"I knew I had to do something, but I got into a rhythm," Jamison
said. "Gilbert told me coming out in the second half to just
let it ride. He shouldn't have to tell me that.
Butler had a terrific two-way game, scoring 21 points while
forcing James to shoot just 7-of-25 from the field. Before
fouling out with 20 seconds left, he limited James to one basket
in the last 8 1/2 minutes.
"(Butler) was really pumped up," Jordan said. "We gave him the
assignment of guarding LeBron, and when you get down
defensively, your offense comes a little bit easier. He really
did it at both ends of the floor early for us."
The 21-year-old James showed himself to be somewhat less than
superhuman. He had 26 points and nine rebounds but could not
find a rhythm with his shot and joined Kevin Garnett,
Tim Duncan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Moses Malone among those
with double-digit turnovers in a postseason game.
"All of the great ones have gone through it," Jamison said.
"You can't let a guy pick you apart and not be aggressive with
him. Tonight we came right at (James). We tried to be more
aggressive and tried to get the ball out of his hands. We
didn't let him get into that comfort zone that he was in the
"I know that hard fouls are going to happen," James said.
"(Washington) has been reading the clippings about me leading
the league in and-ones, so they did a good job of trying to foul
me before I got the ball up. It's just playoff basketball.
Butler also grabbed nine rebounds for Washington, which hosts
Games Three and Four on Friday and Sunday. A year ago, the
Wizards upended fourth-seeded Chicago in the first round.
The Cavaliers wasted a huge game by Drew Gooden, who had 24
points and 16 rebounds. They shot just 36 percent (30-of-83)
and received five points from their bench.
"I thought Drew kept us in the game," Cleveland coach Mike Brown
said. "His presence gave us a chance to win down the stretch."
A jumper by James gave Cleveland a 68-65 lead with 8:58 to go
before Jamison drained a 3-pointer and a follow shot. Butler's
3-pointer off Arenas' penetration gave Washington the lead for
good at 75-72 with 4:50 remaining.
Another jumper by James cut the deficit to 79-77 with 2:48 left,
but Jamison buried another 3-pointer before the game's key
Cleveland's Eric Snow tied up Antonio Daniels and won the
ensuing jump ball. Both James and teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas
tried to grab the ball along the baseline and bumped into each
other. Falling out of bounds, James threw a behind-the-back
pass that went right to Arenas, who made a layup and was fouled.
"I thought (James and Ilgauskas) were going to walk out of
bounds with (the ball)," Arenas said. "I saw that someone was
trying to throw it, so I wanted to be somewhere around there and
they threw it right to me. I was trying to make the layup, but
I saw Eric Snow getting ready to foul, so I tried to hold my
shot a little bit longer to try to get the and-one, which I
Two free throws by James made it 87-84 with 20 seconds to play.
Cleveland had a chance to tie after Washington's Billy Thomas
missed two free throws, but James did not take a 3-pointer,
instead zipping a pass underneath to Varejao, who was stripped
"Varejao slipped (into the lane) and I was the only person on
the weak side," Arenas said. "I tried to get my hand on the
ball or I was going to foul him. The ball was loose, I didn't
hear a whistle and Antawn jumped on the ball.
Showing very little urgency, the Wizards quickly fell behind,
23-8, and were on the verge of being blown out until Arenas and
Butler came alive. They combined for 18 straight points as
Washington grabbed a 26-23 lead early in the second period.
Despite a missed breakaway dunk by James, the Cavaliers opened a
57-50 lead in the third quarter before Jamison had a rare
four-point play and Arenas added a dunk and a 3-pointer, again
giving the Wizards the lead.
"I missed a lot of buckets (lay-ups) that I usually make," James
said. "They did a great job of playing me 1-on-1. It's going
to be a dogfight now. It's a long series and we have to go out
there on the road and try to take care of business.