Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cavs blow out Arenas-less Wizards

The shorthanded Wizards (11-22), playing without the suspended Gilbert Arenas (who is going to be gone for a while) and Mike Miller (who may return Friday from a calf injury), couldn't slow down the now 28-9 Cavaliers, who took care of business at home in a comfortable 121-98 win. The performance was predictable considering this was the second game of a back-to-back on the road for the Wizards -- not to mention that they were without their best player. But unfortunately, they're going to have to adjust to playing without Arenas once again.

Offensively, the Wizards were decent, shooting 44 percent from the field and hitting eight of 16 three-pointers. But strong perimeter shooting was the only thing keeping the Wizards in the game, because they had no answer for the Cavs on defense. Cleveland shot over 57 percent from the field, made 11 of 22 threes, got to the free throw line 10 more times (making 24 of 30), outrebounded the Wizards by 16 (a 44-28 advantage), and dished out 13 more assists. Also, no Wizard posted a positive +/- number -- not even Dominic McGuire in his six garbage minutes at the end of the game.

As for individual numbers, only two Wizards were particularly noteworthy. First, Antawn Jamison led the team with 26 points and did his best to try to rally the troops in the third quarter. But because of Cleveland's much bigger frontcourt, he only grabbed two rebounds. And second, Randy Foye scored 18 points in 29 minutes off the bench. Foye mainly hit jumpers but was still a very solid 8-12 from the field. That was about it. Oh, and Earl Boykins had 10 points and six assists, so that's something worth mentioning.

Also, for the second straight night, Caron Butler didn't do a whole lot. Sure, he was matched up against LeBron James, but you'd think that with Arenas out, he'd try to assert himself more on the offensive end. Instead, Butler took only nine shots, making three of them, and scored just eight points. He also had four rebounds, three assists, and a steal, but that was it. Memo to Butler: With Arenas out, you're going to have to pick things up. Where's Tough Juice when you need him?

Again, this game's result wasn't surprising. How many teams could deal with the Arenas controversy and still be able to hang with the Cavs, one of the NBA's best, on the road? The Wizards played hard; they were just overmatched from the beginning.

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