Johnson: Wizards fall in season finale

Johnson: Wizards fall in season finale
April 14, 2011, 2:34 am
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011 10:30 p.m.
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By Dave Johnson
CSNwashington.comCleveland -- Its not the same. Spring in Cleveland used to mean post-season for the Wizards and Cavaliers, and one day a regular season finale between them might have meaning again. For now it was the send-off for a collection of players eager to get to their futures.In the end it was a feel good night for Cleveland as the Cavaliers pulled away for a 100-93 victory. One of those players eager for his future, rookie point-guard Ramon Sessions led the Cavaliers with a game-high 27 points. The Cavs were 4-2 in their final 6 games. In the final minute of the game the sellout crowd of 20,562 was able to cheer not only the Cavaliers, but Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Joe Tait. It was Taits final game after 39 seasons at the microphone for the Cavaliers.Flip Saunders said before the game he planned to spread the playing time around. Essentially Saunders played his starters in the first and third quarters and the reserves in the second and fourth quarters.Andray Blatche led the Wizards with 20 points to serve as the punctuation mark on his strong finish to the season. After a 10-game absence because of a shoulder injury, Blatche closed the season by averaging around 22 points and 10 rebounds per game, while shooting 49 percent from the field.He couldve maybe said, My shoulders hurt, Ill shut it down, said Saunders. People have been critical of him. I think it says a lot about his character, for him to be able to keep on fighting back and just keep on playing. I think he has realized that being in great shape will help facilitate his success down the road.Blatche was part of a starting five that stormed out to a 35-23 lead. Maurice Evans led the Wizards early surge with 12 of his 15 points in the first quarter. In the second quarter Jordan Crawford was the only starter to get on the floor, while the Cavaliers outscored the Wizards 24-15.I thought our first, main group played really well, Saunders noted. In a different situation, I probably would like to see them play the whole game the way they were playing. We were moving the ball. We were really active and pretty much dominating in many aspects. But, it was a good opportunity for us to see a lot of the young guys.Yi Jianlian did turn in a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Yis fast break lay-up off a Mustafa Shakur steal had the Wizards within two points at 93-91 with 2:27 to play. The Cavaliers then closed the game on a 7-2 run.I think we have to take how we played the last month, John Wall added. It isnt just about winning, but how we all developed, trusted each other on the defensive end and played together. Thats something that we have to learn-that we have to play hard every night.For the month of April the Wizards were 5-3. In addition to Blatches impressive run, JaVale McGee had his most consistent stretch as he remained closer to the basket. The Wizards also discovered the lethal scoring ability of Crawford, while developing raw talent from the D-League with Shakur, Othyus Jeffers and Larry Owens.What we have gone through our building process is going to pay dividends in the future, Saunders said. A lot of times when you have been beaten up during the year and you get to the seasons end, you are glad its over. We have players right now that are excited to play and have a good taste in their mouth going into the off season.