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Washington Wizards vs Cleveland Cavaliers

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

(4) CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

LeBron James is in his first post season and the Cavs fate will rise and fall on his play.

The frontcourt with James, Drew Gooden and Zydrunas Ilgauskas is one of the best in the league. They can all score and defend, which makes things tough for opponents at both ends of the court.

Ilgauskas, who averaged 15.6 PPG, was 6th in offensive rebounds (3.1 PG) and 16th in blocks (1.74 PG). He shot 50% from the field and 83% from the penalty stripe this season.

Gooden, who led the team in rebounds per game with 8.4, was 18th in the league in that category. His 51% field goal accuracy placed him 16th in the NBA.

At guard, Ronald “Flip” Murray, who was a late season acquisition, has been a great addition. He can shoot (13.5 PPG with the Cavs) and controls the ball well. Also at guard, Larry Hughes has been solid, with 15.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 3.6 APG.

James is, well, James and simply amazing. His 31.4 PPG (3rd in the NBA), 6.6 APG (12th) and 1.56 SPG (15th) make him one of the most potent forces in the league. He’s also only in his third season and, yet, has shown maturity and poise that belie his youth.

This team from Cleveland is very good and capable of pushing any series to 7 and any game into OT, where this season the Cavs are 5 and 0. Look for them to still be playing deep into the tournament.

(5) WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Overall, the Wizards have a solid team with Antawn Jamison at forward, Gilbert Arenas at guard and Caron Butler at forward. Add Jared Jeffries and Antonio Daniels, at forward and guard respectively, and you’ve got most of the Wizards’ offensive clout.

With very little depth on the bench, these five players will have to provide 90% of the team’s offense.

Arenas averaged 29.3 PPG and had 6.1 APG, both best on the team. He led the league in minutes played (3,384.0). Along with being a consistent scoring threat, he performs well on defense averaging 2.01 steals per game (4th in the NBA). Although he likes to try 3-pointers, he only hit them 37% of the time this season. He attempted the second most in the league, 540, and converted 199.

Like Arenas, Jamison put in a lot of minutes on the court. He’s strong off the boards (9.3 RPG) and especially good on “D” (7.3 RPG). His 20.5 PPG was second highest on the team.

The Wizards have a solid core and averaged more than 101 PPG, third best in the league, in the regular season. Will they still be playing in the second round? That’s hard to imagine.

Maddux Sports Series Picks

Cleveland wins series 4-2

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