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Arenas wears wrap but looks fine

Gilbert Arenas wore tape to protect his sprained right wrist but didn't appear to have any problems shooting the rock at the morning shootaround today and will be ready to go tonight in Game 2.

Actually, Arenas did have one problem: he lost a grip of money to Andray Blatche and Nick Young by missing a series of shots from mid-court after the shootaround was over. Some were right-handed, some were left-handed and some were over the head tosses while facing the other way.

Young celebrated by running around the court taunting Arenas while yelling that he wanted his money in "ones and fives" to which athletic trainer Eric Waters replied: "He keeps talking that smack and he'll get it pennies and nickels."

Said Arenas as he walked by: "I'm bankrupt."

As has been his custom of late, Arenas did speak with reporters but like I said, he looked to be in decent shape. It will be interesting to see how his shot looks early on tonight.

Coach Eddie Jordan was asked whether tonight's game was the most important of the series.
His answer was interesting. "For Cleveland it is."

Why?

"Because they have home court and they are the fourth seed and we are the fifth seed."

That's true but the Wizards obviously feel that they need this one. I was casually chatting with DeShawn Stevenson after the shootaround and he mentioned that winning tonight would be huge because he feels that the Wizards play so much better at home.

Caron Butler already had his game face on and wasn't talking to anybody. Look for him to come out crazy aggressive tonight. As I've said repeatedly, and this not a cheap shot at Wally World, but there is no way that Szczerbiak can be allowed to defend Butler. He has to make that matchup work for the Wizards, score and draw double teams to open up the floor.

A related key is Antawn Jamison, who was 10 of 24 and will get any shot he wants if the Cavs defend him as they did in Game 1. I asked Coach Mike Brown if he was comfortable giving Jamison so many wide open looks. Essentially, I wanted to know, are you playing with fire with having Ben Wallace on Jamison so much?

Brown: "If we can take it away, we would love to take it away but if you are double-teaming Caron every once in awhile and if you're double-teaming Gilbert every once in awhile, then one thing you are going to give up is a long range shot that is uncontested every once in awhile so it's a matter of picking your poison. You just hope and pray that he misses."

In other words: Jamison will once again get any shot he wants. He can't go 1 of 8 from three-point range and need 24 shots to get 23 points. His rebounding was awesome however and the Wiz will need that.

I'm somewhat shocked at the way this series is being covered by some of my colleagues in the media. Maybe I watched a different game, but if you were in Cleveland right now, you would swear that LeBron James was beaten down with baseline bats, kicked in the groin with steel-toed boots and all but murdered in Game 1.

It was physical, but c'mon, it wasn't THAT physical, except for the play when James nailed Blatche in the face with an elbow.

As Cavs F Joe Smith said: "I thought it might be more physical than it actually was. Smith added that Blatche "gave playoff fouls" when he nailed James a couple of times. It helps of course, that James is a bit of a drama queen who "sells" every bit of contact like a soccer player trying to draw a red card.

(Side note: my editor took that line out of one of my stories today. I mean, that is what soccer players do right? On the first day of the World Cup last summer, I was with some buddies at a DC watering hole and we came up with a fun drinking game. Every time a guy took a dive, rolled around like he'd been shot and then had to be carted off the field only to return a short while later as if nothing had happened, we had to take a shot of whiskey. Problem is, we had to stop by halftime of the second game because we were all going to die. And that's not a knock on soccer, that's just the way it is. Anyway, that's what James looked like after Blatche caught him in the face the other night.)

But I see why Brown and James are selling the physical thing so hard. They know that James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas are this team's only consistent scoring options. If James does not get a steady diet of trips to free throw line and get Brendan Haywood into foul trouble in the process, the Cavs will be in big trouble, especially if the Wiz make some shots they missed on Saturday.

By Ivan Carter  |  April 21, 2008; 12:33 PM ET
 
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