The series moves back to DC, (sorry Dan, you’ll have to find a sitter) with the Cavs up 3-2.
The Cavaliers shot 36%, turned the ball over 13 times and had their rebounding edge negated. Still they were up 87-82 with 1:37 left on the clock. Then Mike Brown, offensive genius, called the same play 4 times in a row. You know the play. LeBron at the top of the key dribbling the ball until time is running out. Yeah, that one.
The first try LeBron launches a three from four feet past the arc with a hand in his face- no good. The second time he drove the lane and passed to Daniel Gibson, who attempted another 3- no good. (So to recap, we’re trying to ice the game and instead of trying to get the sure 2, we’re chucking three pointers. Just making sure we’re all on the same page.) The third time, and this one happens while we’re only up 1, James swings the ball around the horn and Joe Smith ends up taking a shot that he should have made.
Now the Wizards take the lead. Caron Butler flat out beats LeBron on the defensive end. Our best defender got beat there, nothing you can do. So we have 3.9 seconds left, and we run? Anyone? That’s right, LeBron isolation. He goes to the lane and instead of focusing on making a shot, he tries to draw a foul. I don’t want to hear that he was fouled. There was a little contact, but no more than LeBron gave Butler at the other end.
So Mike Brown decided to try and take a knee with 2 minutes left and nurse a 5 point lead. Nice move Mike. What got us back in the game, and in fact got us the lead? Driving the lane, taking the ball to the hole and drawing a foul. Haywood was fouled out. Songaila had 5 fouls on him. But instead we waste time on the perimeter and take 3 point shots, when we were only hitting 36% on the night! Then there was the Wally Szczerbiak factor.
Wally redefined struggle in the first half. He turned the ball over on the first two Cavs possessions! He made 1 shot all night, that being a three at the beginning of the second half. Wally has not earned ANY playing time, let alone starting. Start Devin Brown. Start Daniel Gibson. Give Wally’s minutes to Damon Jones for goodness sake. Damon is rested. He’s fresh. He can hit at least 35% of his shots.
The Cavaliers now have to travel for a Friday game, and possibly a Sunday game as well. Sure would have been nice to rest some of these guys for the 2nd round. Nice job Mike, nice job.