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2006 NBA Playoffs Round 1: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washington Wizards

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<<Back to the 2006 NBA Playoffs Page

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washington Wizards

The No. 4 Seed Cleveland Cavaliers face the No. 5 Seed Washington Wizards in the first round of the 2006 NBA Playoffs.

Regular Season Series

Wizards won 3-1

  • Nov. 15: at Cavaliers 114, Wizards 99
  • Feb. 10: at Wizards 101, Cavaliers 89
  • Feb. 24: Wizards 102 at Cavaliers 94
  • Apr. 16: at Wizards 104, Cavaliers 92

Predictions

  • by user David J. Cohen: Cavs 4-2. They are more balanced and will dominate the glass. The clincher is the Wizards inability to win on the road: a 15-26 record including 4 games against Atlanta and Charlotte, coupled with the Cavs dominance at home, where they are 32-10 including 8 games against Detroit, Chicago, Indiana, and Milwaukee. Click here for full article.
  • by user BMetts: Should be the series of the first round. Both teams are young, talented and upstart, but Washington has been here before. Wait until next year, LeBron. Prediction: Wizards, 4-3 Click here for full article.

Game 1 (April 22)

Recap and Highlights

LeBron James' playoff coming out party was an unmitigated success—a win and a triple-double. James scored 32 points in his playoff debut and added 11 assists and 11 rebounds to lead the Cavs over the Wizards, 97-86.

James is the first player since Magic Johnson to have a triple double in his first NBA playoff game. He, Magic, and Johnny McCarthy are the only three to perform the feat. Magic and McCarthy both scored 13 points in their playoff debuts.

The Cavs had five players in double figures, as Donyell Marshall put up 19 points, Eric Snow and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 14, and Flip Murray had 10. Gilbert Arenas lead the Wizards with 26, but as Wizards' forward Jared Jeffries said, "[LeBron] controlled the game. You could live with him getting 30 points, but what you don't want is 11 rebounds and 11 assists."

Game 2 (April 25)

At the beginning of the game, you could almost hear the sighs of Wizards fans saying, "Here we go again." Cleveland got out to a fast 21-8 start, in which the Wizards looked exactly like they did in Game 1: unorganized, selfish, and confused. They might as well have put on the "Witness" t-shirts that many of the Cavs fans were sporting. However, the Wizards closed the first quarter on a 18-0 run, every single point scored by either all-star Gilbert Arenas or Caron Butler. Arenas hit a pull-up jumper from almost half-court as the buzzer sounded, and you could almost hear the air being sucked out of the "Q". The rest of the game was even, with neither team being able to pull away until late in the game. The win was secured for the Wizards when Lebron James elected to pass with 9 seconds left to Anderson Varejao, who was immediately stripped from behind by Arenas. Antawn Jamison's two freee throws ended the scoring and the Wiz pulled out the win, 89-84.

Washington's Big Three certainly responded well after a terrible 15-47 shooting performance where Arenas, Butler, and Antawn Jamison combined for only 48 points, nearly 20 under their combined average from the regular season. Washington elite trio of players this time combined for 72 points, 30 for Arenas and 21 for both Butler and Jamison.

Cleveland's Lebron James, after his incredible playoff debut where he became the first playoff newbie to recored a triple-double. James scorched the Wizards for 32 points, 11 boards, and 11 assists. This time, however, the tables turned on James. The Wizards went away from the constant double-teams that allowed James to create and went to a one-on-one defensive strategy on the superstar. James had 26 points, but on 7-25 shooting. He was also forced into 10 turnovers, one below the all-time playoff high. He was harassed all night by Butler and Jared Jeffries. A key sequence occurred in the 3rd quarter, when Jeffries forced James to his left, where he is much less comfortable. Jeffries shuffled in front of james, who was called for the charge. Two possessions later, James again went left on Jeffries, who picked up the charge. The foul was LeBron's fourth, and he was then a little less sure of himself about bulling to the hole for the rest of the game, instead electing to take outside jumpers. James ability to create was also diminished, and Donyell Marshall, who had 19 points in Game 1 off of LeBron's penetration and dishing, was held to 3 points on 1-3 shooting. LeBron's struggles were emphasized when he botched a wide-open reverse dun on the break, only to then be blown and dunked on by fellow All-Star Arenas, who gives up about 5 inches and 80 pounds to James. Also, after Eric Snow forced a key jumpball on a layup against Wizards reserve Antonio Daniels, Snow won the tap. Both James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas rushed to the ball, but both thought the other was getting it. James showed that he is, in fact, human, and he threw a no-look behind the back pass that went straight to Arenas, who laid it in and was fouled by Eric Snow.

Arenas proved that this is in fact, a two-superstar series, and that he is perfectly capable of outplaying James. For the Cavs to win Game 3, they'll have to figure out how to get everyone involved like they did in Game 1, and former Wizards Larry Hughes needs to be a contributor. He's averaged only 9 points and two assists in the series.

The Wizards made all the necessary adjustments for Game 2, and they did what they had to do. Washington's Big Three outshined Cleveland's Big 1, James. The series goes back to Washington for Game 3 on Friday, with the Wizards having stolen homecourt from the favored Cavaliers.

Starters and Box Score

Cleveland Cavaliers Washington Wizards
Lebron James (SF) jared Jeffries (SF)
Drew Gooden (PF) Antawn Jamison (PF)
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C) Brendan Haywood (C)
Eric Snow (PG) Gilbert Arenas (PG)
Larry Hughes (SG) Caron Butler (SG)
Click here for the box score

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