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Wizards Roar Back

April 25, 2008 | By RotoRob | comment on this post

It looks the Wizards finally did get into Cleveland’s head in their first round NBA playoff match up.

After trying in vain to throw the Cavs off their game with trash talking and hard fouls, Washington opted in Game Three on Thursday to simply hammer them where it counted – on the scoreboard.

The Wizards’ attempts to unhinge Cleveland, which included DeShawn Stevenson calling LeBron James “overrated” prior to the series, and a flagrant-2 foul by Brendan Haywood on LBJ, failed miserably as they fell behind 2-0, including a serious bitch slapping Monday, 116-86.

Washington shook things up by inserting Gilbert Arenas into the starting lineup. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out so well, as after just 10 minutes of play, he limped off the court and was done. In fact, we may have seen the last of Agent Zero in this series – a potentially crippling blow for the Wizards.

But on Thursday, at least, Washington didn’t need Arenas to work his magic. Everyone else on this team had it going on, including Stevenson and Haywood, as Washington prevailed with ease, 108-72, to pull within two games to one in this best-of-seven series.

Stevenson, believe it or not, almost outscored James, canning five treys en route to a team-high 19 points with three steals. Haywood, who avoided suspension for his scary take down of King James, sunk 5-of-6 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the line for 14 points. He only managed six boards, but had three assists and a steal.

LeBron shot well (10-of-19), but he missed all four from downtown and was only able to get to the line four times, sinking just two, as he was held to 22 points. James didn’t contribute much else, with just seven boards, three assists, one steal and one block, while turning it over four times.

Compare that to his Game Two explosion when he went off for 30 points, 12 assists, nine boards and two blocks to lead Cleveland to its biggest margin of victory in franchise playoff history. Ironically, Thursday’s 36-point loss was the biggest in Cleveland playoff history.

The big problem was that James wasn’t the only Cav to leave his game at the door. The other four starters all failed to reach double digits in scoring. In fact, Devin Brown, with ten points off the bench, was the only other player on the team to hit double figures.

So as bad as Washington looked in Game Two, it completely turned the tables on the Cavs Thursday. Now it’s up to Coach Mike Brown and his underrated stud to rebound Sunday afternoon in Game Four or else we’ve got another barn burner of a series on our hands between two teams who clearly don’t like each other.

Bring it on, baby.

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