By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 20, 2008
CLEVELAND, April 19 -- Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas shot an air ball shortly after checking into the game with 3 minutes 42 seconds remaining in the first quarter, but as he said he would on Friday, Arenas quickly started getting "buckets."
He closed the quarter by making a pair of three-pointers, including one from 35 feet, and added two more three-pointers early in the second quarter to give the Wizards a 32-20 lead.
In his first playoff action since Game 6 of the 2006 series against Cleveland, Arenas finished with 24 points on 8-for-16 shooting with three assists in 28 minutes.
Arenas said his surgically repaired left knee has held up well since he returned on April 2 but added that he's still not in game condition and tires quickly.
"It usually happens since I've come back," said Arenas, who played just less than 10 minutes in the first half and just more than 18 minutes in the second half. "I'll start off hot in the first half and cool off in the second half. It comes from sitting. They're trying to manage my timing, and it's kind of difficult to get my rhythm."
As much as he would like to play even more, Arenas understands that his body may not be ready yet. He said he hopes to play more later in the series. "But right now, no. I can't believe that I got 28 minutes that I played today. They let me go out there and play, but I was tired and didn't have my legs under me."
Arenas was defended by Eleanor Roosevelt product Delonte West most of the game, and in the second half the Wizards made a point of having Arenas post up against West. Arenas spun and scored on one such possession, and drew double-teams and passed out to an open Antawn Jamison on two others, though Jamison missed both shots.
It's a strategic wrinkle that will be worth following as the series goes along.Stevenson, James Don't Talk
Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson, who called Cavaliers star LeBron James "overrated" after a Washington win over the Cavaliers on March 13, said that he and James did not exchange words during Game 1.
The two didn't greet each other before the opening tip, and the only time one appeared to acknowledge the other was when James mimicked Stevenson by waving his hand in front of his own face after throwing down an alley-oop dunk in the second half.
"No, the talking was over from the last game," Stevenson said. "I really didn't talk. . . . He didn't say anything to me, and I didn't say anything to him."
That might be a good thing. Stevenson, who shot 19.6 percent in last year's series against the Cavaliers, made only 1 of 9 shots and scored three points in 38 minutes.