Posted: Thursday April 27, 2006 1:47PM; Updated: Thursday April 27, 2006 2:56PM
Cleveland Cavs-Washington Wizards
Gilbert Arenas rebounded from a lackluster Game 1 to lead the Wizards to a Game 2 win in Cleveland and home court edge.
David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images
Champ: Gilbert Arenas When the game stays ugly, the shots won't fall and the coach only plays seven guys, you have to rely on your ankle-breakers to make things happen. Throughout Game 2, the Wizards were able to rely on Arenas to answer every one of those semi-runs the Cavs threw at them. As always, his shot selection wasn't the best, but it's hard to argue with 30 points, six assists, six rebounds, four steals and just two turnovers in 46 minutes.
Chump: LeBron James Hard to argue with 29 points and nine rebounds, either, but LeBron made a series of blunders in the final quarter of Cleveland's loss on Tuesday. Ten turnovers for the 21-year-old, who struggled mightily to keep his team on the same page.
Ruminations: Though easier said than done, Washington knows what it has to do -- cut the head off that snake. With LeBron turning the ball over and forcing his teammates to create their own shots, guys like Donyell Marshall, Flip Murray, Eric Snow and Larry Hughes combined to shoot nine of 33 (27 percent) from the floor.
New Jersey Nets-Indiana Pacers
Champ: Vince Carter Pretty simple math: scoring 33 points on 20 shots is much more preferable to scoring 31 times on 33 shots. V.C. focused his gaze, and the Nets pulled off a dirty little win.
Chump: Jermaine O'Neal At this point, with that beat-up body, O'Neal needs to be on the court for 9-10 minutes at a time to feel comfortable with his timing and footwork on offense. Though he had a dominant fourth quarter in Game 1, it came only after he was allowed to stay on the court for an extended period of time. Stuck with foul trouble again in Game 2, O'Neal managed only 12 points (on 3-of-12 shooting), seven rebounds, five fouls, three blocks and six turnovers in 32 minutes.
Ruminations: Though this series doesn't closely resemble the barrels full of steaming, fetid boredom that the Eastern Conference playoffs gave us at the turn of the century, it's still a chore to watch.