Left at Home Again

Cleveland routs Washington, 105-88, in Game 6 at Verizon Center to knock the Wizards out of the playoffs for the third straight year.
By Mike Wise
Saturday, May 3, 2008

Remember two years ago, when the Wizards gave up game-winning layups to LeBron James in the teams' first-round series, when they were thought to be so squeezably soft? Now move ahead to Cleveland before Game 5, when a fan's handmade placard read, "Cavs 3, Thugs 1."

Go ahead. Laugh at the irony.

Washington's NBA team, yesterday's gutless wonder, is now perceived as today's lawless ruffian -- Genghis Khan in high tops and mesh.

And it doesn't matter whether they bow to James's throne or try to tip it over, the result is still the same.

The NBA's Prime-time Meal Ticket and His Dogsled 105, The Washington Expendables 88.

Identities do not matter. Role players rotate in and out, like cast members in "Les Misérables." Bottom line, four games to two, James's team used the Wizards as a postseason speed bump for the third straight year, and the gushing from the other side continues.

"Terrific, terrific, terrific, terrific, terrific performance by our guy LeBron James," Cleveland Coach Mike Brown said. Apparently ensuring he stayed on for another year, he actually added, "Terrific."

This is getting so hard to digest.

Done in by a still-teething Bron-Bron and a baby-faced shooter nicknamed Boobie, hovering ominously on the perimeter. Cleveland doesn't rock; it rolls, right over Washington, three years running now. By Wizards injury (Gilbert Arenas's knee, Caron Butler's hip) or league office incompetence (the suspension of Darius Songaila before Game 6 for doing nothing more than what couples do on a KissCam), it doesn't matter.

Cleveland goes on and Washington goes home.

Let's get the pleasantries over quick: James was a sensational player the entire series, weathering a tad of contact but nothing physical enough to call community center quality. Who knew Wally Szczerbiak had anything left, especially 26 points and six three-pointers in a close-out game?

Daniel "Boobie" Gibson looks younger than Davidson wunderkind Stephen Curry, and yet that conniving, cocksure kid just dropped daggers on the Wizards with his 22 points off the bench.

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