INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) LeBron James whistled an unrecognizable tune - no, it wasn't one of Jay-Z's - as he practiced free throws. He seemed blissfully serene.

Staying that way will be tough. He's got to go at least one more round with the Washington Wizards.

A target of taunts and physical abuse almost since the opening tip in Game 1, James and the Cavaliers can eliminate the Wizards from the playoffs for the third straight season Wednesday night.

James, who has enhanced his professional resume by dispatching the Wizards on early summer vacations, knows it won't be easy to end this first-round series. The Wizards are in a bind, even desperate.

"They ain't go no choice but to be desperate,'' said James, who is averaging 29.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists in four games. "They're down 3-1. We need to put them away.''

On Tuesday, James wouldn't comment on the latest insult from Wizards center Brendan Haywood, who a day earlier mocked Cleveland's All-Star by saying, "Awww, they're trying to hurt me'' in a whiny voice in response to James' assertion following Game 4 that the Wizards are out to get him.

But James stood by his remark: He doesn't think the Wizards can come back to win the series.

"I just have confidence in our team,'' he said. "It has nothing to do with the Wizards. They're a very good team, but they've got to beat us three straight games and I can't see that happening.''

The Wizards haven't been eliminated on the road since 1988, when they were knocked out in the first round at Detroit. To avoid a similar fate in Game 5, they'll need to do a better job on James, hit the boards and make their shots.

It might help, too, if they quit the trash talking, which seems to have boomeranged. Most of what the Wizards have said, has come back to bite them. Throw in some rap stars, a few flagrant fouls and it's become quite a series.

"I've never seen a series like this where you have music involved, you have trash talk involved, everything,'' said Cavaliers forward Joe Smith, a 13-year veteran. "I guess that's the way the sport has grown and when you have a rivalry like this, there's no telling what you might find.''

A quick rewind on the Washington vs Cleveland feud:

Wizards forward DeShawn Stevenson called James "overrated.'' James dismissed it, saying a response would be like hip-hop mogul Jay-Z dignifying something said by rapper Soulja Boy. Stevenson fired back by giving Soulja Boy courtside seats for Game 3, a 36-point Washington win. Jay-Z, a close friend of James', countered with a song dissing Stevenson that was played at a D.C. club last weekend.

On the floor, Haywood shoved James and got ejected in Game 2. Stevenson swiped at James' head and got a technical in Game 4. Haywood makes fun of James, Stevenson gets fined $25,000 for making a throat-slashing gesture in Game 4.

This is basketball?

And despite being down, the Wizards haven't stopped yapping.

"You'd think after a while it would kind of calm down a little bit,'' said Smith, who has never been beyond the first round in his career. "It's real surprising that they're still vocal. They're still kind of trying, I guess, to get in our heads a little bit. But it hasn't worked thus far in this series and I don't think it will work at all.''

Stevenson, Haywood and Gilbert Arenas did not speak to the media before the Wizards left for Cleveland. Antawn Jamison, though, had an interesting take on his teammates' oratorical outbursts.

"All this talking throughout the media, about this and that, is really beneath me,'' he said. "And I'm kind of disappointed that my team has kind of bought into it. But it's just about going out there and playing the game. They've been doing that, they're up 3-1, so they can say what they want to say.''

When the blathering first began, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan backed his player's comments. His reasoning was simple: They said it, now they have to back it up.

"We can't go into the series being split on anything,'' Jordan said. "It didn't matter what I think, I wanted to support my players, and I said, 'Look, since this is how we've approached it, this is what you said, these are the things we have to do to be successful in this series.

"You want to talk the talk, well, these are the things you have to walk the walk with. And we've come up short so far, but we're still talking and still walking. We'll see if we can get to the finish line.''

The Cavaliers can see the end. Last year, leading 3-1 against New Jersey, they lost at home to the Nets before finally ending that series on the road. They're determined not to let Washington back in it.

"They're going to bring it,'' Cavs guard Daniel Gibson said, "by any means necessary.''

James hasn't been pounded like this since he was a kid in Akron's playgrounds. He laughed when told about an online fans' poll that said he would win a fight against Haywood.

"I don't fight,'' he said. "I stopped fighting. That's so grade school. I don't need to fight anymore.''

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