Wizards Notebook

With James, Jordan Not Playing Numbers Game

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Washington Wizards probably would not mind if Cleveland's LeBron James replicated his Game 1 performance, when he finished 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting, for the remainder of the series, especially after he averaged 35.7 points and shot 51 percent against them during last season's first-round series.

However, Coach Eddie Jordan said success can't be measured simply by looking at James's statistics. James, who rolled his left ankle in the third quarter of Game 1, did not practice yesterday but will play tonight.

"We don't want him to explode on us, but I also want us to manage the game," Jordan said. "If LeBron gets 40 and everybody else is below par and we're in the game and we manage the game well, that's what we want."

Butler Must Wait

Caron Butler had the cast protecting his right hand removed on Monday and wanted to return to action as soon as Saturday's Game 3 at Verizon Center. But those hopes were dashed when it was decided that Butler needs at least seven to 10 days with no contact.

The news disappointed Butler, who has not played since breaking a bone in the hand while attempting to block a shot at Milwaukee on April 1.

"It's just tough watching your guys out there fighting and battling and you can't do anything to help," Butler said. "I want to get out there so bad, but I'm just going to have to do what the trainers tell me and get back as soon as I can."

Message in Russian?

Yesterday, a few Wizards were asked whether a "message" needed to be sent, via a hard foul, to James and the Cavaliers. Center Brendan Haywood, who laid a hard foul on James early in Washington's Game 2 win at Cleveland last spring, said he didn't think such tactics are necessary.

"It's not like they had a layup-fest or showed us up to where we have to give a hard foul to send a message," Haywood said. "I don't think we have to Russian sickle anybody out of the air or anything, we just have to play good defense."

For the record, Russian Sickle is the nickname of pro wrestler Evgeny Lyder.

On the Loose

Gilbert Arenas is helping keep his teammates loose with his usual goofy locker room humor, according to guard DeShawn Stevenson. "He's never serious," Stevenson said. "He's always joking and laughing. When you have a player like that in the locker room, it takes a lot of pressure off guys. I think right now, guys are so worried about their roles and stepping up and playing, so it's kind of tense."

Arenas's basketball advice to Stevenson is simple. "He wants me to be more aggressive," Stevenson said.

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