- The Washington Times - Monday, April 21, 2008

CLEVELAND - Saturday it was a alley-oop tomahawk that got Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James going and sealed the Washington Wizards’ fate in Game 1.

Tonight it was a drive by James that ended with him being slammed to the court and Wizards center Brendan Haywood being ejected with a Flagrant Type 2 foul that sucked the life out of Washington in a 116-86 loss last night at Quicken Loans Arena.

The defeat put the Cavaliers up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series and gave them their eighth straight playoff victory over the Wizards dating back to the 2006 postseason.

The Wizards trailed the Cavaliers 60-41 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter but appeared to be mounting a charge, cutting the deficit to 15 points while Cleveland missed five shots in a two-minute span.

But with 6:59 left in the third, James drove to the basket. Haywood went up and shoved the airborne James out of bounds, extending his arms.

James went crashing to the baseline as his teammates charged toward Haywood. The officials went to the videotape to review the play and ejected Haywood.

James knocked down both foul shots and the Cavaliers got the ball back. Point guard Delonte West promptly hit a 3-pointer that gave Cleveland a 70-50 lead with 6:45 left to play. James went on to score nine of his team’s final 16 third-quarter points and the Wizards found themselves in an 86-63 hole as the fourth quarter began.

James finished with 30 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds to continue his playoff assault on the Wizards. He has now averaged 32.5 points in 12 playoff games against Washington spanning the last three postseasons.

The Cavaliers had a total of four double-digit scorers with Zydrunas Ilgauskas finishing as his team’s second-highest scorer with 16 points. He also pulled down nine rebounds.

The Wizards, on the other hand, continued their offensive struggles, shooting just 38 percent from the floor. Caron Butler and DeShawn Stevenson scored 12 points apiece. Darius Songaila added 12 points off the bench. Gilbert Arenas, who played despite spraining his right wrist on Saturday, finished with seven points on 2-for-10 shooting in 24 minutes of play. Team captain Antawn Jamison also struggled, finishing with nine points on 4-for-13 shooting.

The Wizards also lost the rebounding battle 39-34 gave up 40 points in the paint to the Cavaliers.

Washington led Cleveland for the first 10 minutes of the opening quarter before James tied the score 19-19 with a foul shot with 1:35 left. Cleveland took the lead on a James layup 15 seconds later and went on to lead 27-22 when the quarter ended.

The Wizards opened the second quarter with eight unanswered points to reclaim a 30-27 lead. The Wizards remained in front before falling into a cold spell in the final six minutes of play.

Cleveland tied the score at 36-36 and the Wizards went on to shoot a combined 1-for-12 from the field down the stretch of the first half. Their only points in the final six minutes of the half came on a 21-footer from Arenas and two foul shots from Butler. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, scored 17 points to close out the second quarter and led 53-40 at halftime.

The Wizards left Quicken Loans Arena and headed to the airport to fly back to the District. They will have two days to regroup before playing host to the Cavaliers at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

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