Cleveland's Not to Blame For This Mistake on the Lake

By Tony Kornheiser
Monday, April 24, 2006

Okay, Game 1 probably won't be included in the season DVD. Talk about flat-lining. If the world was as flat as the Wizards were Saturday afternoon in Cleveland, Columbus would have sailed over the edge. (And then where would Ohio State be? But I digress.) Exactly what were the Wizards focused on during the game, "The Da Vinci Code"?

Normally, the attraction of the playoffs is that both teams show up. Who did the Wizards dedicate that game to, Rip Van Winkle? Okay, LeBron James is very good. But the mere sight of him should not have caused all the Wizards to faint. LeBron ended up with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. So in one game, he had Michael Ruffin's entire career!

The Wizards can't let it continue to be this easy for Cleveland. Someone has to figure out a way to slow down LeBron -- even if it's food poisoning. If LeBron gets a triple-double in his first playoff game ever, is he going for a quad in his second? All playoff rookies, even great ones, are supposed to feel some pressure. That's where the Wizards failed. Cleveland has a rookie coach, Mike Brown. That's Mike Brown, not Larry Brown. For heaven's sake, make him do something more difficult than shake Eddie Jordan's hand.

You don't have to win the first game to win a seven-game series. Should the Wizards win Game 2 tomorrow night, hello, they'll have wrestled away home court. And come on, nobody looks at Cleveland and thinks, "Ohmigod, how are we going to beat them ?" Beyond LeBron, how many of the Cavs do you think are going to Springfield other than by Greyhound? Cleveland has one great player, and four guys named Moe. The Wizards should beat them. But they'll have to get Arenas, Jamison and Butler mo' better real quick.

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