The NBA Closer is written by Matt McHale, who's glad things are going back to D.C. When he's searching the Internets for "The Butler Did It" t-shirts, he can be found growing a DeSwhawn Stevenson beard at Basketbawful. Enjoy!
LeBron is no Kyra Sedgwick. Sorry. TNT has officially gotten to me. Anyway, King James had 34 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists last night, but he also committed a game-high 5 turnovers and missed 13 of his 21 shots, including a layup at the buzzer that would have closed out the series. As it stands, the Wizards won 88-87...thanks mostly to Caron Butler.
Tough Juice (32 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists) scored the go-ahead layup with 3.9 seconds left — against the King, no less — and then gave the Chosen One something to think about before the game's finale. "I was messing with LeBron before the play started. I told him, 'Miss this shot, make it interesting and let's take this thing back to D.C.'"
And, well, you know what happened from there.
The Wizards also got 17 points from the Locksmith and another 12 from Antonio Daniels, while Antawn Jamison had an unusually quiet game (8 points, 3-for-10, 11 rebounds). On the Cleveland side, Zydrunas Ilgauskas was on target (19 points, 8-for-11), but the rest of the Cavs seemed to have developed a case of cantthrowitintheoceanitis: The bricklayers included Delonte West (4-for-11), Wally Szczerbiak (1-for-6), Boobie Gibson (3-for-8), Joe Smith (0-for-6), Andy Varejao (1-for-6) and Devin Brown (1-for-5). Seriously, somebody needs to wipe off that ball ... there's gotta be something on it. Right?
A final note: LeBron, naturally, thought he was fouled on the final play. "But that's not the reason why we lost that game. We had some other plays throughout the whole game that we could've made better. We can't rely on me getting a foul at the end of the ballgame." Why not? It used to work for Dywane Wade.
There were no gang signs last night. Not even from the white chicks. But there was plenty of pushing, shoving, jostling, thrusting, ramming, propelling and a bunch of other synonyms I can't think of right now. There were also several technicals (on Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, coach Mike Woodson and Kevin Garnett) and a flagrant foul called on Al Horford for Cobra Kai-ing Garnett. And pretty much none of that mattered. The Celtics were back in Boston, and they performed a little taxidermy on the Hawks with a 110-85 win.
The C's must have gotten some LASIK surgery on their shootin' eyes, because they shot 54 percent as a team and got big games from the Big Three: Paul Pierce had 22 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, KG scored 20 and dished 7, and Ray Allen scored 19 points and hit 5-for-8 from three-point range. It also didn't hurt that the Boston bench led a second-quarter surge, with Sam Cassell scoring 9 and Leon KA-Powe adding 7 points and 5 rebounds.
Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 21 points, Josh Smith chipped in with 18, and Al Horford had a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds), but Atlanta shot 40 percent as a team, got outrebounded 39-28, and had almost as many turnovers (13) as assists (16).
It was a nice "Order is restored" game for the Celtics, but Doc Rivers doesn't want his team or the fans to get too excited just yet. "We still haven't won a road game, guys. We have to do it again. We have to do it on the road now. We have to go in there and play like tonight." Pretty much, yeah.