Cavs Thumping Wizards

Eddie Jordan is calling timeouts a little quicker these days. Even the hint of a possible run by the Cleveland Cavaliers had the Washington Wizards coach stopping play during the first two games of their playoff series.

His players know why. Their leader has endured an unenviable plight for an NBA coach.

Oddsmakers have made Cleveland -4 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 190 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 87% of bets for this game have been placed on Cleveland -4 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

After nearly a full season of planning a postseason strategy built around All-Stars Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler, Jordan had to start virtually from scratch after both were injured early this month.

``It has to be hard on a coach,'' forward Antawn Jamison said, ``to have a certain vision about a team, and then get accustomed to that vision and know what your team is capable of, then all of a sudden you're missing two key components of that vision. All of a sudden it's a different vision.

``He's done an excellent job adapting to it and going with what he has. He's got everybody buying into the system. Unfortunately it hasn't showed up in wins and losses, but this team is still competitive and playing hard.''

By contrast, Mike Brown's job looks like a breeze. Sure, the Cavaliers coach has to concern himself with making the right substitutions, calling the appropriate defenses and conjuring up the perfect words for a pregame speech, but at least Brown has the roster he expected to have all along. He wouldn't want to imagine what it would be like if, say, he were coaching this series without LeBron James and Larry Hughes.

``I experienced this a little bit when I was in Indiana,'' said Brown, an assistant with the Pacers for two seasons. ``We were part of the brawl in Detroit. We had to figure out how to get into the playoffs with Stephen Jackson missing 30-something games, Jermaine O'Neal missing 30-something games, Ron Artest missing the whole season. ... You've just got to keep trying to do what he's doing - keeping those guys motivated, keep trying to throw different wrinkles out there and keep playing for 48 minutes to see if you can get a win. He's doing a nice job with that.''

The Wizards host the Cavaliers in Game 3 on Saturday, knowing that their 0-2 hole is just what everyone was predicting. What has been somewhat unexpected is the way Jordan's team kept both games tight in the fourth quarter - much the way the team stayed close in most games during the 2-8 skid at the end the regular season.

Even if they get swept, no one will accuse the Wizards of throwing in the towel.

``He doesn't put his head down,'' assistant coach Tom Young said after Friday's practice. ``And if he does, he's going to do it at home - or do it on the way home. Eddie's always had an upbeat personality. Our team is probably as well off mentally as we can be under the circumstances. With their attitude and his attitude, we've got a legitimate shot. I don't think there's anybody on the team who doesn't think that, and it all starts with the head guy.''

Jordan has not only had to tailor his Princeton offense to his new lineup, he's also had to give more minutes to players who spent most of the season as role players.

Jordan is well-suited for this kind of adversity. He's not a screamer or a moper. He is blunt but positive, and his deadpan sense of humor also helps. He's been through tough stretches as a head coach before, notably when star guard Mitch Richmond was injured midway through a promising season with the Sacramento Kings in 1998.

``Mitch went down, and we hit rock bottom,'' Jordan said. ``Look, the league is about a few things. No. 1 is talent. You've got to have talent on the floor, you have to have veterans on the floor, you have to have tough guys on the floor. We took a big hit in the talent department.''

Jordan is hoping that homecourt advantage will help turn the tide for the Wizards in Game 3, even though Washington hasn't won at home since March 28 - an 0-6 streak. The coach said he wants his players to play with a ``Game 7 mind-set'' without feeling Game 7 pressure.

``History speaks for itself,'' Jamison said. ``No team has come back from 3-0 to win a series, and you don't want to give them any more confidence than they have now. If we win tomorrow, we make a series out of it. So this is a pivotal game. It's the most important game.''

Notes: Though still unable to play because of a broken bone in his hand, Butler said he might sit on the bench in uniform for Game 3. ... The Cavaliers practiced in Cleveland on Friday before flying to Washington. Asked for an update on his sore ankle, James said: ``Good. Day off helped.''

By: Marc Young - - Email Us

More NBA Basketball Coverage from

 - NBA Basketball teams
 - NBA Basketball standings
 - NBA Basketball schedule
 - NBA Basketball scoreboard
 - NBA Basketball injuries
 - NBA Basketball matchups
 - NBA Basketball stats
 - NBA Basketball odds
 - NBA Basketball public betting chart
 - NBA Basketball news wire
 - NBA Basketball top stories
 - NBA Basketball trends
 - AccuScore NBA Basketball predictions
 - Expert NBA Basketball picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for daily newsletter
 - NBA Basketball Home

NBA Headlines

  • METAIRIE, La. (AP) Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins figure they've proved they can co-exist to spectacular and prolific effect.
    Both big men have been named All-Star starters, giving them h...
  • OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Thunder coach Billy Donovan can't pinpoint the best thing about Paul George.
    Oklahoma City's versatile forward averages just over 20 points per game, leads the league in st...
  • Semi Ojeleye, Cedi Osman and Royce O'Neale have never started in an NBA game. Cameron Payne last played in April. Matt Costello has scored two points in his NBA career.
    They're not stars.
  • NEW YORK (AP) Team LeBron against Team Steph is the NBA's new All-Star matchup.
    LeBron James and Stephen Curry will go head-to-head again, this time as captains who pick teams for the revampe...
  • CHICAGO (AP) Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn is out indefinitely after being placed into the NBA's concussion protocol following a fall during a game that ended up with him dislocating two front tee...

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Pacers vs. Lakers Prediction Will the Indiana Pacers cover the small point spread tonight when they visit the L.A. Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ET?
Thumbnail Knicks vs. Jazz Pick Will the New York Knicks be able to contend on the road when they face the Utah Jazz tonight at 10:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Suns vs. Nuggets Pick Will the host Denver Nuggetsease to a victory tonight when they battle the Phoenix...
Thumbnail Kings vs. Grizzlies Prediction Are the Memphis Grizzlies a great bet to cover the point spread against the Sacramento Kings tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET?
Thumbnail Heat vs. Nets Pick Will the Miami Heat record the victory tonight when they are small favorites at the Brooklyn Nets? Tip-off is at...

NBA Team Pages