Johnson: Wizards power past Cavaliers

Johnson: Wizards power past Cavaliers
April 2, 2011, 1:29 am
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Friday, April 1, 2011 9:26 p.m.


By Dave Johnson
CSNwashington.comWashington---Wizards head coach Flip Saunders called Fridays meeting with the Cleveland Cavaliers an energy game. Andray Blatche followed his coachs advice with a franchise-record 16 offensive rebounds to help will the Wizards to a 115-107 victory.In his only second game back from a shoulder injury, Blatche played his most emotion-charged game of the season. Blatche was aggressive on both ends of the floor and matched his career-high with 36 points to go with his career-hight 19 rebounds.It feels good to be back and Im having fun again, said Blatche. When I was out I realized you cant take anything for granted, so I came back with a lot of energy and Im just happy to be playing again.The calendar said April Fools day and Saunders even joked before the game that seven-foot rookie center Hamady NDiaye would start at two-guard. The tongue in cheek comment was in response to the absence of John Wall because of suspension that forced Saunders to employ his league-high 28th starting lineup of the season.NDiaye was not in the backcourt, but Jordan Crawford switched to the point guard and responded with a career high in assists and rebounds. A game after scoring 39 points, Crawford played 42 minutes and posted a triple-double with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.The most phenomenal thing about Jordan is that he has the ability to have an average first half and then he comes out and hes lights out in the second half, Saunders said of Crawfords 15 points in the second half. Im talking about making big plays tonight and not just scoring, he had some phenomenal passes to JaVale at the rim.The Cavaliers received a boost off the bench from Ramon Sessions who led the team in scoring with 26 points. J.J. Hickson scored 16 of his 21 points, including 6 of 8 from the free throw line, in the first half to help the Cavaliers to a 57-52 lead at the break.The Wizards turned to their defense bring life to trigger a 14-0 run to take control of the game early in the second half. During that stretch the Wizards forced the Cavaliers into 3 turnovers, including 2 blocked shots, to take a 68-61 lead with 8:06 lead left in the third quarter.Daniel Gibson, who finished with 8 points, added to the resume of the Cavaliers bench when he hit a 19-foot jumper to cut the Wizards lead to 85-84 with 10:45 left in the fourth quarter.JaVale McGee then scored 6 points in an 11-0 run by the Wizards to kill the Cavaliers momentum. McGee was again disciplined in his shot selection as he attacked the basket under control and finished with 25 points and 8 rebounds.Othyus Jeffers was the fourth Wizards starter to score in double figures. Jeffers was rewarded for his 15 points and 8 rebounds against the Heat with a start at two-guard. Jeffers finished with 13 points on 5 of 7 shooting from the field. As always Jeffers was tenacious on defense and had 3 steals.You got a guy in O (Jeffers) who was playing in the NBDL two weeks ago and now hes starting and playing 30 minutes and being very productive, Saunders noted. He is not playing like there is someone behind him. Hes playing like hes chasing someone and he looks hungry.