86 - 116 Final
  for this game

James, Cavaliers take 2-0 edge over Wizards

Apr 22, 2008 - 3:46 AM By Jeff Brewer PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND (Ticker) - LeBron James has absorbed tough contact, but the Cleveland Cavaliers still have the Washington Wizards' number.

James fell one rebound shy from registering a triple-double as the Cavaliers posted a 116-86 blowout victory over the Wizards on Monday in Game Two of their Eastern Conference first-round matchup.

It was the eighth straight time that Cleveland has defeated Washington in the playoffs over the past three seasons.

James finished with 30 points, 12 assists and nine boards to give the Cavaliers a two-games-to-none lead with the series heading to the Verizon Center for Game Three on Thursday.

"We just wanted to continue to be aggressive," James said. "In the first half, we were aggressive. We wanted to be aggressive and continue to execute. We're a mentally prepared team. We're focused. We know (in) Game Three, we're not going to win by 30. But we know we can control some teams and that's defensively."

Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 16 and nine rebounds and Wally Szczerbiak scored 15 for Cleveland, which trailed by three in the second quarter before ripping off an impressive 25-8 spurt en route to a 53-40 advantage at halftime.

Washington's Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas were held in check in the opening half, combining for 2-of-15 from the field.

"When you have three scorers like we do, it's easy for one of us - or two of us - to have a bad night," Arenas said. "But when all three have a bad night, that never equals to a win."

Arenas didn't want to blame his poor performance on his injured right wrist.

"No, I'm not going to blame (my poor shooting) on the wrist," he said. "I was shooting fine before the game started."

The Wizards continued their hard fouls on James when Brendan Haywood pushed the 6-8 superstar and was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul at 6:59 mark in the third.

"It was scary, honestly," James said. "That's the only thing I could think of when I was in the air was hopefully I can get one foot under me so I can break my fall. I knew it was going to be a tough fall."

"When you start seeing fouls like that, when you start seeing guys knock guys down to the ground and then just step over them, yes, you have to defend your teammate," Cleveland's Joe Smith said. "You have to make sure, without going over the limits, that you protect him."

Cleveland coach Mike Brown hopes the hard fouls doesn't get out of control.

"You can't have grown men saying, 'I'm going to hit somebody,'" Brown said. "If that's the case, we, the NBA, the officials, cannot allow anything to get out of hand and they have to keep control over the game on both sides."

But James, who had a bloodied forearm as a result, shook if off to hit a pair of free throws and Delonte West followed with a 3-pointer to give the Cavs a 70-50 lead.

"They're trying to get me out of my comfort zone," James said. "They're trying to get me to the point where I get frustrated.

"That was a big turning point," Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson said. "That was a hard foul, and a guy like LeBron, when things like that happen, he pretty much goes to another level. We used it as motivation."

Cleveland extended its lead to 86-63 heading to the final quarter and never looked back.

With the hopes of tying to tone down the aggressive play, game officials sent a message in the first by whistling 14 personal fouls.

Arenas was tagged with a technical foul and Cleveland's Anderson Varejao was assessed a flagrant foul. Butler scored 12 points and Arenas finished with just seven for the Wizards, who were dominated on the glass, 49-34. Washington All-Star Antawn Jamison was also silent with all nine of his points coming in the first half.

"We are playing the (Eastern Conference) champions and I know they changed their team, but they still have the same coaching staff, and in a respectful way, the monster player (James), and he's taking over the series," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "I did a horrible job trying to keep our guys playing with intensity, discipline and organization."