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LeBron, West lead Cavs past Wizards in Game Four

Apr 27, 2008 - 10:43 PM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Delonte West made a 3-pointer from the left corner with 5.4 seconds remaining Sunday, lifting the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-97 victory over the Washington Wizards in Game Four of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.

LeBron James had 34 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers, who took a 3-1 series lead and will host Game Five on Wednesday.

On the game-winning play, James drew a double-team inside the key and passed the ball to West, who was wide open.

"I'm pretty sure everybody in the gym, including their defense, thought (James) was going to take the last shot," West said. "And I think sometimes we forget this guy has great court vision. He made the right play, and that's what makes him a great player.

"The play was really drawn up for everybody just to get out of the way and let LeBron do what he does best. Fortunately, that's one thing that he does best is he finds the open man."

Cavaliers coach Mike Brown confirmed West's assessment.

"The only talk was to get the ball to LeBron - and he could figure it out from there," Brown said. "It's about trusting your teammates. We know and he knows that he's going to get double-teamed, and everyone is going to shrink that floor.

"If he drives and kicks, be ready to lock and load and knock that shot down."

The finish was reminiscent of the Cavaliers' 114-113 overtime victory in Game Six of the teams' Eastern Conference first-round playoff series when Damon Jones came off the bench to bury the Wizards with 4.8 seconds left in overtime.

"A couple years ago it seems like Damon Jones was right there in the corner on almost the exact same play, but that's why he's LeBron James," Jamison said. "He demands so much attention, and we did a great job as far as boxing him up and not letting him get the opportunity to drive to the basket."

West scored a career playoff-high 21 points for the Cavaliers, who outrebounded the Wizards, 51-31. Ben Wallace led the way on the glass with 12 rebounds for Cleveland while Joe Smith had eight boards and Zydrunas Ilgauskas seven.

"We've been a good rebounding team, but the guys just gave a lot of effort today," Ilgauskas said. "There were a lot of missed shots, and we got good position under the basket. It's hard for a team to play defense when you keep getting offensive rebounds because it does tire you out."

"They really got on the offensive boards," Wizards forward Antawn Jamison said. "It seemed like every rebound they got, they converted on."

Gilbert Arenas made two free throws with 57.1 seconds remaining that pulled Washington to 97-95, but his 3-point attempt as the final horn sounded fell short.

"Most of the time he makes it, but he's not the real Gil," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "He made a great shot there to tie it up and he had the juice, so I thought he could come up with the magic one more time."

After Caron Butler's floater in the lane pulled the Wizards within 94-91, Gibson made his fourth 3-pointer of the game for a 97-91 lead with 3:47 remaining.

DeShawn Stevenson's 3-pointer pulled Washington to 88-84 with 7:43 left.

West scored eight straight points, including two 3-pointers from the right corner, that gave the Cavaliers an 88-82 lead with 8:13 left.

"It's big, first and foremost, that we got the win going back home," said West, who grew up in Washington and played for Eleanor Roosevelt High. "But it always feels good to come back in front of where I grew up playing."

Smith converted a tip-in for a three-point play that gave the Cavaliers an 80-73 lead after three quarters.

"I just mistimed my jump and Joe Smith gets an and-one," Jamison said of the play that epitomized the Wizards' rebounding struggles.

Jamison's three-point play pulled the Wizards to 75-73 with 1:24 remaining in the third. He led Washington with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

The non-rivalry, as assessed by James, between himself and Stevenson got more heated late in the second quarter.

James drove toward the basket and was fouled from behind by Stevenson, who knocked the headband off James' head and was assessed a flagrant foul. Stevenson then rose off the floor and charged at James but was restrained by teammates.

"I definitely saw DeShawn coming and I didnt even know that he hit me with a closed fist until one of my teammates told me," James said. "I didn't know that. If we was on the park, something definitely would have escalated.

"But, you know, I guess that's what they want to do. They want to hurt LeBron James this series. It ain't working."

James made the second of the two free throws and followed with a 3-pointer and two more free throws that capped a 13-0 run and gave the Cavaliers a 44-41 lead.

West and Gibson sandwiched 3-pointers around a dunk and two free throws by James as Cleveland closed the half on a 23-5 run for a 54-44 halftime lead. James scored 12 points during that stretch and had 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting at the break.

"They continue to try to hurt me, but I continue to get up," James said. "It definitely sparked our team. We went on a good run."

Arenas started for Washington and played 15:37 of the first half but did not score until early in the third quarter. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting in 32 minutes.


    Apr 27 3:42 PM
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    bouch Added 5 roots

    Cavaliers 97, Wizards 91  4th - 2:26Apr 27 3:37 PM
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    mark Added 5 roots

    Cavaliers 97, Wizards 91  4th - 2:26Apr 27 3:30 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 20 roots (Close Finish)

    Cavaliers 90, Wizards 87  4th - 6:00Apr 27 3:21 PM


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