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Another Setback For Arenas

Cleveland routs Washington, 105-88, in Game 6 at Verizon Center to knock the Wizards out of the playoffs for the third straight year.

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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 25, 2008

Gilbert Arenas started Game 3 last night but didn't finish. The question now is: What kind of impact can the three-time all-star have on the remainder of the series against the Cleveland Cavaliers?

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After coming off the bench in the first two games, Arenas started last night but limped off the court with a bone bruise in his left knee late in the second quarter and did not return.

Arenas, who finished with two points and three assists, is day-to-day, but Coach Eddie Jordan said he is hopeful Arenas will be available for Game 4 on Sunday.

The bone bruise was not the result of any particular play, according to Jordan.

"It just starts hurting," Jordan said. "He didn't re-injure it. It just aches, it's sore. It may be a pinched nerve. We talked about that a few minutes ago. It could be a nerve pinching back there in his leg, and if it is, it should be very manageable."

Mason Provides Spark

On a night when Washington showed its passion for playoff basketball by filling Verizon Center with rabid fans, a local guy sparked the Wizards.

Mason, who starred at Good Counsel High School and the University of Virginia, got the Wizards rolling to a 28-point second quarter by running off seven straight points and assisting on two more to open the period.

Later, when Mason capped a fast break by making a difficult layup, the Wizards' lead reached 16 points and the Cavaliers were well on their way to falling apart. Mason finished with a career playoff-high 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting and mixed in some solid defense as well.

"My comfort level was there tonight," said Mason, who totaled 10 points on 2-of-10 shooting in the first two games. "I told myself I was going to be aggressive and I got some good looks early."

Cleveland star LeBron James credited Mason with changing the game.

"Mason is one of those guys where, if you let him make a few shots, he starts believing in himself and keeps making shots," James said. "He's a very good shooter. We can't let guys come off the bench and hurt us like he did tonight, even though he's a really good player."

Whiteout Appreciated

The players appeared to feed off of the energy produced by the sellout crowd, most of which wore white.

"I thought the white shirts meant a lot," Jordan said. "When we walked into the gym earlier today during shoot-around, we saw the white shirts on every chair. That's unity right there. That shows that you have a great fan base."


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