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Songaila Remains Right in The Mix

Antawn Jamison (4) has position against Ben Wallace for the rebound, but the Wizards forward struggled with his shot in Game 5.
Antawn Jamison (4) has position against Ben Wallace for the rebound, but the Wizards forward struggled with his shot in Game 5. (By Preston Keres -- The Washington Post)
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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 2, 2008

Forward Darius Songaila was involved in two of the most interesting plays in Game 5, including the decisive one.

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After Caron Butler gave the Wizards a one-point lead with a drive and score with 3.9 seconds remaining, the Cavaliers set up a play for LeBron James, who drove to his right and missed a running shot near the rim as time expired.

After releasing his shot, James came down on Songaila's back. No foul was called despite the protests of James, Cleveland Coach Mike Brown and just about every fan at Quicken Loans Arena.

After the game, James said he thought he was fouled but added that he should have made the shot anyway. Songaila said that he would not have made contact with James had he not been pushed from behind by Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Songaila's fellow Lithuanian.

"I was in front of [Ilgauskas] and when I stepped forward, he put his hip into me and turned me sideways," said Songaila, who lost his balance and turned his back on James in an attempt to avoid contact. "I was relieved when I saw that the ball didn't go in the basket."

Earlier in the game, Songaila received a technical foul after he and James got tangled up underneath the Washington basket. As Songaila and James pulled apart, Songaila's left arm flew up and caught James on the chin. James then pulled back in dramatic fashion and covered his face with his hand. Songaila was given a technical.

Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan passionately argued against the call at the time and hadn't change his opinion by yesterday.

"I stand my ground," Jordan said. "I thought he got tangled up with LeBron and LeBron tried to get untangled and in his method of getting untangled, Darius's arm flew up and at his chest."

Added Jordan with a smile: "And LeBron's a terrific actor. We've all seen his commercials."

Later in the game, Songaila was on the receiving end of an unintentional Ilgauskas elbow to the face.

"Yes he did," said Songaila, who, along with other Lithuanian stars has been lobbying Ilgauskas to play for the country's national team this summer. "I'll have to talk to him about that. Hopefully he plays on the national team so we can talk about it."

Off the Mark

All-star forward Antawn Jamison was as relieved as anyone when James missed that shot. Jamison finished with a game-high 11 rebounds Wednesday night but made 3 of 10 shots and air-balled his only attempt in the fourth quarter.

"That definitely would have been a tough summer knowing that we lost and I didn't play my best game," said Jamison, who is averaging 15.6 points and 11.4 rebounds in the series. "Now we have to find a way to get it done [Friday] and send it back to Cleveland."


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