Cavs' Success Used As Fuel by Butler
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
At least one Washington Wizard still hasn't gotten over the fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers represented the Eastern Conference in last summer's NBA Finals.
After sweeping the injury-depleted Wizards, who played without Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas, in the first round of the playoffs, the Cavaliers advanced to the NBA Finals, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
That happened long after the Wizards jumped out to a conference-best mark of 27-17 late last January.
"That was my motivation all summer," Butler said. "Because everywhere you go, it's like, 'What if?' . . . Usually the team that has the best record at the all-star break represents the East [in the NBA Finals]. It was like a smack in the face.
"I'm happy for them, they played great basketball and they have a great leader in LeBron [James], but at the same time, I felt like we should have been there."
Tonight's game will also feature a test of wills between Wizards shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson and Cavaliers forward Drew Gooden. The two have remained friends since playing together in Orlando during the 2003-2004 season, and last summer they made a friendly wager as to who could go the longest without shaving.
So far, both players still are covered in facial hair.
"I'm not losing," Stevenson said. "I'll go as long as I have to."
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