April 27, 2008
Fast Breaks: Cavaliers-Wizards
By Chris Mannix
Game 4   Leaders
Cavs lead series 3-1   Points Rebounds Assists
100 97
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
• My reaction to LeBron James's final drive that resulted in Delonte West's game-winning three-pointer:

(LeBron driving): "Go to the rim!"

(LeBron passes): "NO! Don't give it up!

(West knocks down the three): "Great play!"

Generally speaking, I think it is a bad idea for LeBron to give up the ball in that situation; at 6-foot-9, 260 pounds the odds are high that James will either a) make the game winner himself or b) draw a foul. But with the Wizards defense collapsing around him, James spotted a wide open (and white hot) West (pictured) in the corner and West (21 points on 7-of-12 shooting in Game 4) made the open shot. "He kicked it to the open shooter," said West. "That's what makes him such a great player."

• There are a handful of players in the NBA who respond well to physical play. Kobe Bryant. Paul Pierce. And, yes, LeBron. That's why I didn't understand DeShawn Stevenson's far-too-excessive swipe at James' head in the second quarter. The shot didn't dissuade James from going to the rim. In fact, it only motivated him to go stronger. It's one thing to engage in a verbal war (which Stevenson has done) with James off the court, but to wake a sleeping giant with a gratuitous foul on the court is just plain bad strategy.

• Hey, Ben Wallace does play for the Cavaliers. Wallace, part of the mega deal between the Cavaliers, Sonics and Bulls in February, had been a relative non-factor in the first three games of the series, averaging 6.0 points and 1.0 rebounds in 19 minutes per game. But Wallace (12 rebounds, two blocks in 32 minutes) was an imposing presence in the paint in Game 4, a fact that bodes well for Cleveland in this series and in potential second-round series with Boston.

• Second chance points killed the Wizards. Cleveland dominated the inside, outrebounding Washington 51-31. That edge negated a sub-par shooting night for the Cavaliers (41 percent). Remarkably, outside of the rebounding struggles, the Wizards were better than or close to Cleveland in virtually every other category.

• I don't feel like Washington is taking enough advantage of the defensively challenged Wally Szczerbiak. Whenever he is in the game, Caron Butler should be attacking him.

You May Like