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Golden Child Outshines The Wizards

Gilbert Arenas of the Wizards is none too pleased with his team's performance in a Game 1 loss to LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Gilbert Arenas of the Wizards is none too pleased with his team's performance in a Game 1 loss to LeBron James and the Cavaliers. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)

If Larry Hughes hadn't gone 1 for 9, James would have had 15 assists.

A few days ago in this space I wrote that the Wizards had too much experience for the Cavaliers and Washington should win this series in six games. Problem with my logic is that James distorts all conventional wisdom.

Magic wasn't supposed to replace an injured Kareem in the NBA Finals, was he?

It took James awhile to get to the playoffs. Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, taken in the same draft, got to the playoffs quicker.

Anthony led his Nuggets to the playoffs in the much tougher Western Conference. And Wade even won a series as a rookie, before Shaq got to Miami.

But now the Golden Child is here. Magic, playing against the Suns in April 1980, had 13 points, 12 rebounds and 16 assists. In 1960, Johnny McCarthy of the St. Louis Hawks recorded a triple-double. That's it, that's the list. "It's a great class to be in," James said.

Small class, too.

Someone asked how James could do what he did, especially the passes, and he said: "It's a God-given talent. I don't know how the box score will end up."

When James, who grew up in nearby Akron, was drafted he said he wanted to "light up Cleveland like Las Vegas."

Well, he did, at least for one day.

And if the Wizards are any kind of team, after such a pathetic effort, they'll be embarrassed at being handled by a kid, even this kid.

In the old days, after a humiliating playoff defeat, teams would have to sit around in their hotel rooms and listen to local criticism of how they stunk the joint out and how great the home team was. And the good teams, the Celtics, 76ers, Lakers, Pistons and Bulls, would be so angry and so focused by the start of Game 2, you were virtually guaranteed a dramatically different confrontation.

But the Wizards, in these days of private jets, flew back to D.C. immediately afterward to the comforts of home for the next couple of days.

If I were Jordan I'd have canceled the flight, checked everybody into a downtown Cleveland hotel, and called for a John Chaney-style 6 a.m. practice Sunday morning. They could wear the same clothes for three days and I'd have treated everybody to soap and a toothbrush. That way, the Wizards would have grown testy and ornery, while listening to everybody serenade LeBron James, the wunderkind, until they grew determined enough to do something about it.

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