Back in the district

I'm no professional lip reader but I swear that after Brendan Haywood's hard foul on LeBron James last night, James mouthed the words "They're trying to hurt me Danny!" to referee Dan Crawford.

I just hopped off a flight from Cleveland and arrived here at the VC where the Wizards are gathering for a shootaround/film session. No word yet on whether the league is going to suspend Haywood for the foul but my guess is that won't. I personally don't feel that it was a flagrant 2 either. Flagrant 1, yes. Others, especially everyone in Cleveland, saw it differently.

Then again, James was in the air and defenseless and Haywood extended his arms so it looked bad. On the flip side of that, Haywood appeared to be trying to give a foul and caught James in an awkward spot. That happens sometimes. I've never known Haywood to be a dirty player. And, I could be wrong, but most suspensions come from fights or when a guy is contacted in the head and face area. I guess we'll see.

Either way, there is going to be a ton of spotlight on the zebras here on out in this series. The Cavaliers, meaning Mike Brown and James, have successfully created the perception that the Wizards are playing dirty basketball and are out to hurt one of the game's biggest stars. The Wizards maintain that they simply want to play clean, hard basketball and not give James easy layups, dunks and three-point plays.

Also, it's interesting to note that some of the hardest fouls in this series have come from the Cavs.

In Game 1, James blasted Andray Blatche in the face with an elbow after Blatche had clocked him across the face earlier. In Game 2, Ben Wallace laid a good and hard but clean playoff quality foul on Caron Butler early in the game. Amazingly, Butler didn't roll around on the ground or whine to the refs while grabbing his lip as if it had been torn off and Eddie Jordan held back from sprinting onto the court in Brown like fashion to demand that his all-star receive justice.

Later in Game 2, Anderson Varajeo clocked Blatche in the head and face and Delonte West laid a hard foul on Antonio Daniels.

From a basketball standpoint, the Wizards have to get going offensively and it must start with Caron Butler. He's made nine field goals in two games and been nothing like the dominant player he was earlier in the season.


By Ivan Carter |  April 22, 2008; 12:06 PM ET
Previous: Five Qs For the Wizards | Next: James, Cavs Embarrass Wizards in Game 2

Comments

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Oh, Caron still plays for the Wizards? I didn't notice the first two games.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 12:27 PM

Antonio Daniels has been knocked down like that about 100 times this year without a single flagrant 1 call, let alone a flagrant 2. That's what happens when you go flying to the rim in traffic. This cr@p with the NBA propagating a different set of rules for the superstars is getting increasingly ridiculous.

Although I guess a league that can't wait to abandon a market like Seattle in a hissy fit over an arena isn't worried about looking stupid.

Posted by: burke | April 22, 2008 12:41 PM

This is fan gossip not journalism from Ivan...reading lips ??? from half a court away?? That is juvenile as heck to report that.... ...Mike Brown doesnt want his star to get destroyed by what was a cheap shot?? Thats why the Cavs are winning? Very poor, very illogical. You should have to pay to get into the games like the other fans. You are eating too much free food at the Wizards trough..

Wiz are a regular season team..they dont listen to their coach and now they have tried to change their personality based on the time of year. Its interesting how media people (Ivan) create excuses for their lousy play and ultimately an immaturity that has put their backs firmly against the wall.. replay those other fouls and tell me any of them was close to what Haywood did...Yikes...get rid of some of these "stars" and find some players..

Posted by: yikes | April 22, 2008 12:42 PM

LeBron and Donaghy in '08!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 12:51 PM

bulter's play is really the oddest thing of all. on offense all he does is throw up the odd outside shot, and stand around a lot. he seems to 1) be injured, 2) not trying, or 3) resigned to the fact that they are going to lose.

weird coming from one of their most agressive players.

Posted by: stevie | April 22, 2008 12:53 PM

Yikes, are you watching the same game? Are you going to tell me that what West, Varejao, James, Wallace, Ilgauskas do to grab, hold, elbow, trip and hurt little guys like Daniels and Arenas is ok, but hard fouling by Haywood on James is not? Give me a break and watch the game without those stars in your eyes.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 12:56 PM

The key to cracking the Cavs (when they're not imploding on their own) is to get Z on the bench early in foul trouble. He's their 2nd most important player and gives them a versatile scorer. Then, ahem, you have to shoot over 40%. The Cavs are guarding the rim well and limiting us to one shot, usually a perimeter jumper.

The Cavs can take whatever beatings we deliver. Getting rid of Z makes getting to the rim easier and takes a serious scoring threat away from Lebron's passes.

I don't know what plans A or B are, but they need to try Plan Z.

Posted by: Pauly B. | April 22, 2008 12:58 PM

the Wiz were a disgrace last night. Did DeShawn really wave his hand after hitting a three when we're still down 16?!?! are you kidding me? all he's proven is that he's all talk and LeBron can do whatever he wants against him. And the blog from yesterday kills me - shouldn't someone with a sprained wrist not be shooting half-court shots after practice!?!?! unbelievable

Posted by: pathetic | April 22, 2008 1:02 PM

Stevie - Caron's gotta be hurting. He's not moving well and when he slashes to the basket it takes forever. Plus, he's not looking for the jumper as aggressively. It's really ideal for the Cavs because Wally and Big Ben are considerably slower than they used to be.

Gil is also not moving as fluidly as he once did. Hard to beat anyone if we are relying on their ability to create shots right now.

Foul Out Z!

Posted by: Pauly B. | April 22, 2008 1:06 PM

I can excuse Caron for being hurt. But being unfocused isn't excusable.

On the jump ball between Haywood and I believe Joe Smith in the 1st half after Smith tied Haywood up, instead of standing on the circle right next to Devin Brown, which would have blocked Brown off from the Wizards' half of the free throw circle, Caron for some reason stood three feet off the circle, letting Brown jump in front of him. Before the ref tossed up the ball, I was screaming at Caron to get better position. Of course Brown jumped in front of Caron to catch the tip. (Caron redeemed himself by stealing the ball from Brown.)

No excuse for Caron not having his head in the game. He's made dumb plays like that and forced awful shots.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 1:17 PM

The reason Brown has been successful at creating that impression is because the wizards have been telling everyone with a mic how they want to play physical with LeBron. How they don't wanna allow lay ups. All good in theory but do they really need to announce it? May be instead of Eddie Jordan telling the press how they want to make LeBron earn it at the free throw line, maybe he can talk instead of how his players will start playing like they belong on the same court with LeBron.

Posted by: Bart | April 22, 2008 1:19 PM

I was psyched to watch some good b-ball last night. Fortunately, Teenwolf was on after that stink bomb of a Wizards game. Michael J. Fox may not have had a left hand, but dude played with real fire.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 1:19 PM

And DeShawn doing any sort of self-congratulation after hitting a 3 in a losing effort just shows how mentally weak these guys are. Why pat yourself on the back for making a 3 point shot on your way to a 30-point loss? In a playoff game? Mental midgets all of them.

Posted by: Bart | April 22, 2008 1:22 PM

I got flamed for calling out CB a couple weeks ago but he's disappeared. If he's hurt, maybe Songaila or AB would give us a better chance. (Songaila at the 4 while AJ slides to the 3. AJ is probably fast enough to guard Sczerbiak) If Caron needs to play limited minutes so that he an go 100% for those minutes, let's do that. Everyone is talking about how Gil is hurting the team by playing hurt and trying to take over while not at 100%. No one is saying jack about how one of our all stars isn't doing squat. AJ had a great game 1 and is off the hook in my opinion.
C'mon, Caron ! It's time to drink some of that so called 'tuff juice' and go to work. Wally 'freaking' Szcerbiak?!!!
This is what you do ... No need for any fakes or anything. Just drive by him as soon as you get the ball. If help comes, pass it for an open J by someone. Drive under control and be prepared to pull up and pass because help WILL come. Don't even front like you're taking a jumper until he starts to play 5 feet off of you and then shoot open shots. It's Wally Sczerbiak !! It's kinda like when everybody was hurt and Phil Hubbard was guarding you in practice.

Posted by: mark | April 22, 2008 1:25 PM

"Amazingly, Butler didn't roll around on the ground or whine to the refs while grabbing his lip as if it had been torn off and Eddie Jordan held back from sprinting onto the court in Brown like fashion to demand that his all-star receive justice."

Well put. :)

Cavs just used Wiz's "we want to give hard fouls" to their advantage. Meanwhile, they are also giving out hard fouls, but did it "quietly."

Posted by: Sagaliba | April 22, 2008 1:32 PM

Ivan is spot on. The fact that LeTravel has been rolling around and feeling his lip every time he's hit is disgraceful. He looks like a soccer player. Just pick yourself up and go to the line. For a guy who says he doesn't mind contact, he acts like a wuss any time he's touched.

Posted by: Colin | April 22, 2008 1:51 PM

The more I think about Arenas shooting one-handed half-court shots after practice and then wincing in pain when he shoots a 15-footer during the game the madder I get. He's looking for an excuse b/c he can't match Lebron. Eddie needs to just bench him and go with what got him there.

Posted by: E | April 22, 2008 1:58 PM

Ivan,

This is why you are the best in the business. Good to know I wasn't going crazy thinking that was not a flagrant 2!

Posted by: WizFan | April 22, 2008 2:00 PM

Are you kidding Ivan?

I was at the game last night. Both Jamison and Butler were whining the entire game to the refs especially Butler. What game were you watching? After each timeout in the second half, Butler would immediately run up to one of the Refs and complain. Maybe they should concentrate on their terrible defense rathern than whine all night. You will not get any calls when you your offence is essentially heaving jump shots.

Regarding Haywood, he made no play on the ball. It was a dirty play and deserving of ejection. At least Varejo made an attempt to block Blache's shot.

Here is the bottom line: Cavs have Lebron, Wiz don't. Cavs win series.

Posted by: lenny | April 22, 2008 2:00 PM

It's kind of sad that a newspaper as high profile as the Post can't find a beat writer who isn't a homer.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 2:37 PM

Are you kidding Ivan?

I was at the game last night. Both Jamison and Butler were whining the entire game to the refs especially Butler. What game were you watching? After each timeout in the second half, Butler would immediately run up to one of the Refs and complain. Maybe they should concentrate on their terrible defense rathern than whine all night. You will not get any calls when you your offence is essentially heaving jump shots.

Regarding Haywood, he made no play on the ball. It was a dirty play and deserving of ejection. At least Varejo made an attempt to block Blache's shot.

Here is the bottom line: Cavs have Lebron, Wiz don't. Cavs win series.

Posted by: lenny | April 22, 2008 2:00 PM

Here is the bottom line: I'm a pathetic fan in Cleveland. We haven't won any kind of Championships in over 40 years. That's why we are so desperate and we surf other cities' websites. It's so pathetic in Cleveland, even our beloved Browns left us at one point. To make it worse, Lebron is leaving this pathetic city soon too, when he opts out.

Posted by: lenny | April 22, 2008 2:43 PM

Hey anonymous Cleveland fan - back off Ivan.
Even Reggie Miller said during the game last night that the foul call on Haywood probably would not have been that harsh if it was on anyone besides James.
Admit it, the refs are simply biased when it comes to him.

Posted by: cj | April 22, 2008 2:58 PM

Hey anonymous Cleveland fan - back off Ivan.
Even Reggie Miller said during the game last night that the foul call on Haywood probably would not have been that harsh if it was on anyone besides James.
Admit it, the refs are simply biased when it comes to him.
Posted by: cj | April 22, 2008 2:58 PM

Why back off Ivan? He's terrible. It's the kind of sports reporting you expect to find in a small to mid-sized market (he'd fit right in in Cleveland). The Post is supposed to be the big leagues. I guess not enough people in the DC area care about the Wizards, though, so the Post doesn't mind having poor reporting on them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 22, 2008 3:06 PM

Listen to all you Wizards and probably other hometeam haters!
Ivan isn't a Homer....he just calls it like he sees it. I am tired of hearing Mike Brown, Lebron, and the gang cry about fouls. Hopefully they'll call the rest of the games fair.

Posted by: JHolmes | April 22, 2008 3:12 PM

To everyone making the comments about the Cavs getting calls because Mike Brown and LeBron are influencing the refs, then what you're saying is that not only are the Cavs playing better physically then the Wiz, but they are playing better mentally too. It's called gamesmanship and it happens in every sport. And if you really think the Wiz players aren't whining too, you better go watch the games again.

Maybe it has more to do with the fact that the whole Wizards team from the coach down have been talking trash about fouling hard, knocking LeBron out in the lane. If they are going to keep talking, they need to except the fact that Brown and Lebron are going to do what's necessary to protect their players. Maybe instead of talking trash and playing half court games during practice, the Wizards coaches and team leaders should put together a better game plan than Hack-a-Cav. Seems to be working brilliantly so far. I think we're starting to see which players are truely overated. Oh and hopefully that clever poster writes his tired response to this about bitter Cleveland fan. That's not played out yet.

Posted by: Wendal S | April 22, 2008 3:29 PM

Wahhhhh. The bullets will be lucky to see a game 5. Too much talkin, not enough talent.

Posted by: Matt | April 22, 2008 6:03 PM

To everyone making the comments about the Cavs getting calls because Mike Brown and LeBron are influencing the refs, then what you're saying is that not only are the Cavs playing better physically then the Wiz, but they are playing better mentally too. It's called gamesmanship and it happens in every sport. And if you really think the Wiz players aren't whining too, you better go watch the games again.

Maybe it has more to do with the fact that the whole Wizards team from the coach down have been talking trash about fouling hard, knocking LeBron out in the lane. If they are going to keep talking, they need to except the fact that Brown and Lebron are going to do what's necessary to protect their players. Maybe instead of talking trash and playing half court games during practice, the Wizards coaches and team leaders should put together a better game plan than Hack-a-Cav. Seems to be working brilliantly so far. I think we're starting to see which players are truely overated. Oh and hopefully that clever poster writes his tired response to this about bitter Cleveland fan. That's not played out yet.

Posted by: Wendal S | April 22, 2008 3:29 PM

Wahhhhh. The bullets will be lucky to see a game 5. Too much talkin, not enough talent.

Posted by: Matt | April 22, 2008 6:03 PM


We're all pathetic Cleveland fans suffering through a bitter Drought. It's gone so bad that we now resort to posting on other team's websites.

Posted by: Cleveland Fan | April 22, 2008 8:09 PM

To everyone making the comments about the Cavs getting calls because Mike Brown and LeBron are influencing the refs, then what you're saying is that not only are the Cavs playing better physically then the Wiz, but they are playing better mentally too. It's called gamesmanship and it happens in every sport. And if you really think the Wiz players aren't whining too, you better go watch the games again.

Maybe it has more to do with the fact that the whole Wizards team from the coach down have been talking trash about fouling hard, knocking LeBron out in the lane. If they are going to keep talking, they need to except the fact that Brown and Lebron are going to do what's necessary to protect their players. Maybe instead of talking trash and playing half court games during practice, the Wizards coaches and team leaders should put together a better game plan than Hack-a-Cav. Seems to be working brilliantly so far. I think we're starting to see which players are truely overated. Oh and hopefully that clever poster writes his tired response to this about bitter Cleveland fan. That's not played out yet.

Posted by: Wendal S | April 22, 2008 3:29 PM

Wahhhhh. The bullets will be lucky to see a game 5. Too much talkin, not enough talent.

Posted by: Matt | April 22, 2008 6:03 PM


We're all pathetic Cleveland fans suffering through a bitter Drought. It's gone so bad that we now resort to posting on other team's websites.

Posted by: Cleveland Fan | April 22, 2008 8:10 PM

To everyone making the comments about the Cavs getting calls because Mike Brown and LeBron are influencing the refs, then what you're saying is that not only are the Cavs playing better physically then the Wiz, but they are playing better mentally too. It's called gamesmanship and it happens in every sport. And if you really think the Wiz players aren't whining too, you better go watch the games again.

Maybe it has more to do with the fact that the whole Wizards team from the coach down have been talking trash about fouling hard, knocking LeBron out in the lane. If they are going to keep talking, they need to except the fact that Brown and Lebron are going to do what's necessary to protect their players. Maybe instead of talking trash and playing half court games during practice, the Wizards coaches and team leaders should put together a better game plan than Hack-a-Cav. Seems to be working brilliantly so far. I think we're starting to see which players are truely overated. Oh and hopefully that clever poster writes his tired response to this about bitter Cleveland fan. That's not played out yet.

Posted by: Wendal S | April 22, 2008 3:29 PM

Wahhhhh. The bullets will be lucky to see a game 5. Too much talkin, not enough talent.

Posted by: Matt | April 22, 2008 6:03 PM


We're all pathetic Cleveland fans suffering through a bitter Drought. It's gone so bad that we now resort to posting on other team's websites.

Posted by: Cleveland Fan | April 22, 2008 8:15 PM

This is an article from a Wizards HONK. Garbage journalism.

I like the parts that said "Also, it's interesting to note that some of the hardest fouls in this series have come from the Cavs.

In Game 1, James blasted Andray Blatche in the face with an elbow after Blatche had clocked him across the face earlier."

The key words there was "AFTER BLATCHE HAD CLOCKED HIM ACROSS THE FACE EARLIER". Never mind that Gilbert had also grabbed him on the same play and held him so Blatche could hit him also. Ironically thats when the fool injured his wrist. Play basketball and stop fouling.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 23, 2008 12:06 AM

Look, this is a blog formum--note the address above that starts "blog.wash.." It means this domain is more subjective by nature than a front page game recap. Ivan Carter does have some pull for the Wizards--why shouldn't he, he covers every game, and regularly talks with each of the players--but he understands you can be subjective in a blog environment, where you would refrain elsewhere.

Posted by: Andrew | April 23, 2008 1:30 AM

Now, what I really want to talk about: I am a Wizards fan, but I don't have my head in the sand; I watch a lot of other teams, and try to form objective opinions. But I have to say, the more I'm seeing of Lebron James, the less there is to like. His talents are undeniable; the guy is a total freak. Cleveland hit the jackpot of the decade with that no. one pick, a just reward for long being one of the worst teams around, a guy who changed everything about Cavaliers basketball culture. If the MVP means most dominant player (debatable) I'd give it to him, even over Bryant. ...But the way he carries himself is another story. I don't pretend to know what he'd be like as a friend, or even what he's like with the guys in his locker room--maybe he's generous, giving, an all-around good person. But man is he obnoxious on the basketball court. He gloats, he screams, he scowls, he shows people up. He holds press conferences with the refs between plays. Reactions for everything. He's angry when he doesn't get calls, and angry when he gets them, as though every call ought to come with an apology. A make-up call for LBJ is the promise of another call on the next possession: come on ref, make it up to me. Most recently, each foul comes with its own performance--show them where it hurts. He's a 260 pound monster, but he has all the on-court habits you'd expect from a guy half his age. As for the LBJ 3-step, I don't blame HIM, it's not his call to make, but it certainly isn't helping the two-sided image he's grown for himself: i.e. "Remarkable / Spoiled" You could rightly point out that there are some Wizards with some of these character faults, and others too. Everybody's got some. But no one, and that goes for any team in the NBA, is the total package like Lebron James.

Posted by: Andrew | April 23, 2008 1:48 AM

Ivan, keep doing god's work.
Lebron, keep acting the female dog. Surprised, I am not.

Posted by: Bobtimist | April 23, 2008 12:16 PM

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