Cavs at Wiz
Coach Eddie Jordan said that he has no set plan for how to use Caron Butler tonight as the two-time all-star makes his return after missing 16 straight games with a left hip injury. Butler will start.
"We'll keep and eye on him and see if he pulls up but that's it," Jordan said. "I'm not going to put a time to it. If he's playing well and we have the luxury of rotating guys in, that's what we'll do. We'll use some normal substitution patterns."
I watched Caron go through his usual pre-game shooting routine before the game and he really looked locked in. It's obvious that he's desperate to get back onto the court.
Antawn Jamison (back), Antonio Daniels (left thumb) and Stewie (sore left foot) are good to go tonight as well. The Cavs will play without Zydrunas Ilgauskas (back), Daniel Gibson (ankle) and Eric Snow (knee).
Ben Wallace (back spams) will try to go as will Sasha Pavlovic, who returned last night in New Jersey after missing 23 games with a foot injury but played just under 10 minutes, missed all three shot attempts and didn't look like a guy who was ready according to the Cavs beat writers.
And just in case the game comes down to the closing seconds with the ball in LeBron's hands as these games often do, I asked Eddie about his strategy for stopping the unstoppable one (especially if he gets to take four steps or run over Brendan Haywood while drawing a blocking call).
Eddie on being between LeBron and a hard place: "If you double team him, he finds a shooter. If you don't double team him, he drives to the basket so, when it's that time of the game, I'll switch spots with (me) and then we'll see how your team's defense works and I can have all the answers after."
Well, since Eddie brought it up, here's how the Ivan Carter defense would work: I'd have DeShawn Stevenson stuck to LeBron like glue and then immediately run a second defender at LeBron as soon as he touches the basketball, which had better be behind the three-point line. I'd prefer that second defender to be a long-armed guy like Andray Blatche. Then, my guys had better rotate away from the furthest shooter and make LeBron find him.
If Damon Jones or Devin Brown or Wally Z knocks down a game winner to win it, I walk off the court, crack open a cold one and live with it but at least I'd know that LeBron (and the refs) didn't beat me.
Easier said than done.
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