LeBron James had the last word.
In an NBA playoff series filled with trash talk, hard fouls, 13 technicals, one ejection, one suspension and plenty more, James was everywhere and did a little bit of everything in Game 6. And, in what's become his personal rite of spring, he led the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Wizards in Washington.
James compiled 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 13 assists for his third career playoff triple-double, all the while helping slow Caron Butler at the defensive end, and the Cavaliers beat the Wizards, 105-88, last night to close the contentious series.
"Cleveland is advancing. We won the series, 4-2. That speaks louder than me saying anything about the fans here, anything about DeShawn Stevenson," James said, referring to the Wizards guard who called him overrated. "Cleveland is advancing. That's all that matters."
It's the third consecutive postseason that the Cavaliers eliminated the Wizards in the first round - ending each of those series on Washington's home floor.
"Three times in a row. It's tough," Washington's Antonio Daniels said. "But who knows what happens if we have a healthy team? A healthy Gilbert Arenas? If we had Darius Songaila for Game 6 - who knows what happens?"
Songaila, a reserve forward, was barred from last night's game by the NBA for hitting James in the face at Cleveland in Game 5, a 1-point Washington victory that extended the series.
"We have LeBron on our team, and there are 30 other teams or 29 who don't," Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas said, "and that's the biggest difference."
Indeed, James was involved in pretty much every key sequence, including when he was whistled for one of the game's three technical fouls. And when Butler drew another for throwing an arm across James's waist. And when King James lit into his teammates at the end of the third quarter for allowing Daniels to cut through the lane for an uncontested dunk.
"We can't allow that," James said. "Not in the postseason."
He was more of a passer than a scorer early, with twice as many assists (four) as shot attempts (two) in the first quarter. That allowed his teammates to get in a rhythm, and Wally Szczerbiak scored a career playoff-best 26 points, Daniel Gibson added 22, and they combined to make 10 of Cleveland's 11 3-pointers.
"He passed up a couple of wide-open shots to get even more wide-open shots for me," Szczerbiak said.
Butler considered the contributions from the Cavaliers' lesser-known players and said: "The thing was we wanted somebody else to beat us, and that's kind of what happened."
Antawn Jamison led Washington with 23 points and 15 rebounds.
Jazz 113, Rockets 91 - Deron Williams scored 13 of his 25 points in the decisive third quarter in Salt Lake City, and Utah knocked Houston out of the playoffs in the opening round for the second straight year.
The Jazz open the second round against the Lakers in Los Angeles tomorrow.
Tracy McGrady scored 40 for the Rockets, but could not beat the Jazz by himself and fell to 0-7 in playoff series.
Luis Scola was the only other Rockets player in double figures with 15 points. The Rockets lost point guard Rafer Alston with a sprained ankle late in the second quarter and the offense never recovered.
Mehmet Okur had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Carlos Boozer added 15 points and 10 boards for the Jazz. Andrei Kirilenko scored 11 points and Williams added nine assists.