Another Setback For Arenas
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?
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."
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."