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Arenas Won't Start In Game 1

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gilbert Arenas came off the bench in the five games he has played since making his return on April 2, and he will be in that role again for Game 1 of the Wizards' best-of-seven first-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

However, Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan did not rule out making a change as the series goes along.

"Right now, we are looking at Game 1 and he is going to come off the bench," Jordan said. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to Game 2."

Since returning after missing 66 games following left knee surgery, Arenas averaged 14.6 points on 41.8 percent shooting with 3.8 assists in 21.6 minutes. Jordan said he hopes to expand Arenas's minutes in the playoffs. Antonio Daniels will start Game 1.

"Whether he starts or comes off the bench, I don't know if it's really different for an opponent," Orlando Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy said. "You would rather have him on the bench as long as you could if you are the opponent, I know that. No disrespect to their other players, but when you have a player like Gilbert Arenas, who is one of the best scorers in the league, every minute he is on the bench I would think is a good thing."

Stevenson Ready to Roll

After calling LeBron James overrated and making several other bold statements, Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson fully expects to be public enemy number one when Game 1 tips off today at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena.

"I have to expect that, I mean, it's LeBron James so it's pretty much everywhere on the streets right now," Stevenson said. "I'm not worried about it. I have to go out there and stop LeBron; and Gilbert, Antawn [Jamison], and Caron [Butler] have to do the scoring. I think my job is easier."

Stevenson, who took a charge on James late in Washington's 101-99 win over the Cavaliers on March 13, will almost certainly be reminded by fired-up Cleveland fans that he shot a dreadful 19.6 percent during last year's first-round series, won by the Cavaliers 4-0.

During that series, center Brendan Haywood became something of a villain in Cleveland after engaging in a shoving match and exchanging trash talk with then-Cavalier Drew Gooden in Game 2. "I don't think they're going to worry too much about me," Haywood cracked. "I think that right now, their focus is going to be on somebody else."

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