Cavaliers Escape Washington Bullet

Anderson VarejaoCavaliers 93, Wizards 89 [box]

In a way that I now take back, I said that all I wanted for Christmas was an embarrassment of the Washington Wizards.  Now that I sit back and realize that the game is actually over, I cannot believe that said game was as much of a game as it was.

At no point in this season should this Cavalier team rely on free throws from Anderson Varejao.  At no point should we bank on a game where Caron Butler goes 3-for-13 from the floor for a night of six points.  And in no way should a Cavs fan expect to win a game where Ben Wallace (six points) outscores Zydrunas Ilgauskas (five points).  But we did.  And we won.  But we did not deserve it.

Mo Williams may have had 24 points and six assists to go along with his four three-point field goals.  However, the Cavaliers also allowed a point guard in Mike James (albeit talented), a guard who was not on this team more than a few weeks, to spring for 26 points with five treys.  This was a game that would make most fans drop jaws if if was Agent Zero.  Instead, it was agent “Who the heck is that guy?”  It was the same guy that was that hasn’t seen double-digit minutes since Houston in the mid-90s, and he torched this Cavaliers team.

Perhaps it was a lackadaisical defense.  Perhaps we underestimated the team that we played.  The Wizards shot 43 percent from the floor.   Their All-Star forward was held to single digts.  Yes, Antawn Jamison had a good game, but that’s expected.  What’s also expected is Zydrunas Ilgauskas gets more than five shots against a team with nearly no front court.  We take 19 more free throws than our opposition, and barely escape with a win?

This one was lucky, fans.  If we would have played at this level against either the Lakers or Celtics on the same night, it would have been embarrassing.  This is one of those games where we look at the “W” and attempt to ignore the rest.  Like it or not, we’re fortunate that the home record is still in tact.

Miami on Sunday.  We’ll see which team shows up.

  • MITfball73

    yeah after seeing the supposed foul call by Butler (i think) on Lebron’s 3 with a couple minutes left made me feel guilty about this win…i dont even think he made any contact with him.

    but, Cavs have been screwed like that before, and will be again, so maybe it was just a nice Christmas present to us Cleveland fans oh so used to coal :)

  • Craig

    Yeah… the calls went the Cavs’ way tonight. No doubt. When Butler got that call against him, the Wizards are in such sorry shape that he just shook his head. He almost seemed too beaten down to even bother complaining to pick up the technical. I certainly don’t feel sorry for the Wizards because of Deshawn Stevenson, but it is too bad for a solid player like Butler to be so discouraged.

  • S-Dub

    It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or by a mile. At the end of the season all that matters is the W.

  • Ricky

    I thought that the charge call on Butler that essentially sealed the deal was a good call, but maybe I just need to see it again. The foul on the 3-point shot was definitely non-existent, but a wins a win. The Cavs played tonight like they just had a big Christmas dinner, while the Wizards played like they didn’t get to see their families on Christmas and like they had nothing to lose

    Hopefully the Wizards keep on sucking so they realize that the core that they have invested way too much money in isn’t going to win them a title, so they decide to trade Jamison. He would be great as the 6th man (he has done it before in his career), he would play starters minutes but keep the chemistry of this team intact, and his game would fit perfectly next to LBJ. Maybe that’s just a Christmas dream though…

  • phil

    I did not see the game but I believe that, although it was ugly, the Cavs did deserve to win it. They did not win as expected, and factors beyond their control were decisive in the outcome, but it is a rare game about which you cannot accurately say one of those two things to have been so. The Cavs scored more points than their opponents and did not give up when it looked as if the game had been lost with less than two minutes to play. They made crucial shots. They deserved to win.

  • Tsunami

    Worst game I’ve seen the cavs play in a LONG time. no energy. no getting to loose balls. no legs. short on free throws. slow on defense. just a terrible game.

    glad it didn’t bite us in teh standings.

  • KN

    I saw this game, and wow – VERY unexpected. Honestly, I think we DID deserve to win – in years past remember that this Cavs team would have thrown up their hands and given up in crunch time with the scrub team ahead by two possessions or more. It was an ugly win, but it was a win.

    Besides…who in the world would expect Mike James of all people to go off like that?! Plus, if Z had reached his scoring average the game turns into the lopsided victory we all expected.

  • tribefan30

    On a side note, did you guys see the fans throwing of the chalk along with Lebron before the game? I thought it looked better than I thought it would, should make for a good commercial!

  • DCBucks

    31 3-point attempts… ouch. That was a lazy performance all around, except for MoWill who saved their bacon. That said we still beat them with no production from Z, a subpar game from LeBron, and an off night at the line. Mike James does not have another game like this the rest of the season, especially against the Cavs. Butler has played poorly all year, so no surprise with his game tonight.

    The point was made they wouldn’t have beat a better team playing like last night. They would have brought their A-game against a better team. This was the first time all year they took their opponent for granted and played down to their level. I’ll chalk it up to a Christmas night game, and hope it doesn’t become a trend.

  • DCBucks

    The charge on Butler was a good call. I watched it twice in slo-mo. LeBron got the call, but so did Mike James earlier on MoWill when he got the and-1. Mo Will didn’t even come close to touching him, unlike MoWill getting put to the deck on his attempt from the free throw line. The Wiznerds were coming over the back all night without a call. Bottom line NBA refs suck and you hope your team gets screwed less.

  • Scott

    Butler averages 22 a night and has a higher PER thus far in 2008 than he did last year…

  • eshaw

    I was screaming at the tv last night, which kinda offset my great christmas dinner… but a win is a win none the less. I think Lebron had a little too much stuffing or those new Zoom VI were weighing him down b/c he looked almost out of the game until a few key and ones late. And fyi Mike James was toronto’s leading scorer a few years back and has always been a real streak shooter, so i was a little surprised by his good night but not really i guess. It seems like the last couple games Z hasnt really been involved as much in the offense like in Denver, I’m hoping his ankle isn’t bothering him too much. But the best thing about that narrow escape last night was that Boston lost to the overrated Lakers, so we picked up a game!

  • JJ

    I know commentators like to hype things up quite a bit but The Czar had it dead on when mentioning that Mike James is a lethal three point shooter that should never be left alone. I personally think they did deserve to win that ball game just due to the fact they played lock down defense when they needed it the most. Interesting matchup sunday when West has to guard Wade. Just hope the Cavs can come together and get back to those convincing wins that don’t cause stress.

  • Jay

    I’m just glad to see calls finally going our way. It just seems like we (as in all Cleveland teams) get the shaft, but the Cavs have made believers out of the NBA. It reminds me how Jordan used to get calls go his way (like when he pushed off against Utah, then sink the shot to win the title) now LBJ is getting them. A win is a win, we’ll take it, and hopefully regroup for the Heat.

  • Ike

    Have to disagree, Scott. This is one of those games when you look at the W and ignore the rest. Championship teams find a way to win these kinds of games, plain and simple. The Cavs didn’t play particularly well, the opposition played well and hit basically every shot they had to make except their last one. Washington played well enough to win that game but they didn’t.

    We got some calls, but whatever. Good teams find a way. And we did.

    And honestly speaking, I’m glad it was a close game. Made it much more exciting, haha…

  • Scott

    That’s fine, Ike. We can agree to disagree.

    I just feel that Championship teams destroy lesser opponents.

  • Gmoney

    The Celtics lost to the Pacers this year. Stuff like this happens. The Cavs avoided a loss like that last night. Job well done, in my opinion.

  • nicko

    82 game season. Not going to destroy everyone.

    I don’t think they could played worse at home, and they still won. Hopefully it’s not a habit though.

  • Gerardo

    It was an ugly win, but good teams need to win ugly at times. Think about it – the Wizards are like the Browns – always finding a way to lose. It’s nice to have a team on the other side of these games.

  • macnip

    Champion teams should normally destroy lesser opponents but you knew the Wizards would be playing all out this game. The Cavs were taking this game for granted, very lucky to escape. But, a win is a win, we are one game closer to the one seed in the east