Cavs, James Falter at End vs. Wizards
6/21/2008, 12:25 a.m.
With assistant coach John Kuester running the team after Brown was restrained and led off the court, the Cavs chipped away until James' drive with 1:01 left tied it at 77-all.
"We're not saying we want Mike Brown to get thrown out if we're flat or not making shots. We're not saying that," James said. "But sometimes you need a coach to do something, and that definitely fired us up."
None of his teammates scored more than 13 points, the Cavaliers shot 39 percent for the game and they were held to their lowest point total this season. At 77-77, Cleveland's Delonte West missed a 3-point attempt, and Dominic McGuire grabbed the rebound while being scratched below the left eye by James, drawing some blood. The Wizards called timeout and set up Antawn Jamison's baseline jumper with 10.5 seconds left
"That just gave us a sigh of relief," Butler said. Jamison led Washington with 26 points and 13 rebounds, while McGuire had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his first NBA double-double.
Cleveland's next possession ended with James' travel, and Butler added a free throw for the final margin. James fell into the courtside seats while trying a desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
How surprising is this result? The Central Division-leading Cavaliers (27-6) are neck-and-neck with the reigning NBA champion Boston Celtics for the best record in the East, while the Wizards (7-25) aren't even close to climbing out of last place. No other club in the conference has fewer than 12 victories. And yet when these teams last played, on national TV on Dec. 25, Washington led by seven with a little more than 1 1/2 minutes left before Cleveland closed with an 11-0 run to win.
"I was pulling for the guys to pull it through, to find a way to kind of sneak this one by them like we did the last game," Brown said, "but it didn't happen."
It did not, and the Wizards noted what interim coach Ed Tapscott had written in red on the grease board in their locker room: "REDEMPTION."
Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas played 2-on-2 for the first time Sat. Dec. 3 as he recuperates from a third operation in 1 1/2 years on his left knee. The Wizards won't say when Arenas is expected to begin practicing. Cleveland's previous low point total was 85, in its season-opening loss to Boston.