LeBron James scored 30 points, Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 16, and the Cleveland Cavaliers played their best game since the Feb. 21 megatrade, blowing out the Washington Wizards, 116-86 in Cleveland, to take a 2-0 lead in their opening-round playoff series oozing with bad blood.
"We are playing the champs," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "I know they changed their team. But they still have the same coaching staff, the monster player and he's taking over the series."
James was scary all right.
He scored 14 points in the third quarter when the Cavs opened a 25-point lead over the Wizards, whose defensive scheme coming into their third series in as many years with Cleveland was to slow the superstar by roughing him up with hard, clean fouls.
It may be time for Plan B.
The Wizards hardly bothered James, who finished with 12 assists and nine rebounds, barely missing his third career postseason triple double.
Wally Szczerbiak added 15 points for the Cavaliers, who have struggled with injuries and inconsistency since GM Danny Ferry dealt half his roster at the trading deadline. With Cleveland staggering, Arenas called out the Cavs, saying "I think everybody wants Cleveland in that first round" and "We don't think they can beat us in the playoffs three years straight."
Those comments followed Wizards forward DeShawn Stevenson calling James "overrated."
Arenas went 2 for 10 from the field and Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison were both 4 of 13 as the Wizards' Big Three combined for 28 points.
In the third quarter, Washington center Brendan Haywood was ejected for a flagrant foul on James. Haywood didn't make much of an effort to go for the ball and shoved James hard with both hands as he drove and the All-Star went flying out of bounds. Haywood, who had an altercation with James in Game 1, could face further discipline for the intentional foul.
Jazz 90, Rockets 84 - Tracy McGrady disappeared again in the fourth quarter and visiting Utah took a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series with Houston.
Deron Williams shrugged off an ankle injury and scored 22 points and Mehmet Okur added 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Jazz.
McGrady, a seven-time All-Star who has never advanced past the first round of the playoffs, had 23 points, 13 rebounds, and 9 assists to just miss his first postseason triple double. But he went 0 for 4 from the field and scored only 1 point in the final quarter.
Carlos Boozer added 13 points and Williams had five assists for the Jazz, who closed the game with a 14-8 run.