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The Washington Wizards is a professional basketball team based in Washington, D.C.. They play in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
On April 5th, 2006, the team was 39-35 and looking to close in on the 45 win mark achieved the previous year, yet Caron Butler suffered a thumb sprain and the Wizards lost all five games without him. Caron returned and the team pulled out their final three games, against the Pistons, Cavs and Bucks, all playoff bound teams, to finish the year at 42-40 and clinch the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference. They averaged 101.7 points a game, 3rd in the NBA and tops in the East and clinched a playoff berth for the second year in a row for the first time since 1987.
Their first round match up with the Cleveland Cavaliers was widely seen as the most evenly matched series in the 2006 NBA Playoffs. The teams exchanged wins during the first two games in Cleveland, with Game 2 highlighted by the Wizards holding LeBron James to 7-25 shooting from the floor while Brendan Haywood gave James a hard foul in the first quarter that many cited as the key to shaking up the rest of LeBron's game. In Game 3 at the Verizon Center, LeBron James hit a 4-footer on the way down with 5.7 seconds left to take the game and the series lead for the Cavs with a 97-96 win.
Coach Eddie Jordan, Wizard players and fans, believed that James was traveling when he hit this shot. Arenas missed a potential game winning 3-pointer on the other end to seal the win for the Cavs. Game 4 saw the Wizards heat up again, as Gilbert Arenas scored 20 in the fourth quarter after claiming he changed his jersey, shorts, shoes and tights in the locker room and the Wizards won 106-96.
Yet in Game 5 & 6, the Cavs would take control of the series, both games decided by one point in overtime. In Game 5, despite the Wizards being down 107-100 with 1:18 to play, the team drove back and eventually tied the game on Caron Butler's layup with 7.5 seconds remaining to send the game to OT, where LeBron James would tip-toe along the baseline to score with 0.9 seconds left in overtime to send the Cavs to a 121-120 win.
The series came back to the Verizon Center for Game 6, where the game went back and forth all night. The Wizards blew a 14-point first-quarter lead, then for 24 minutes, from early in the second quarter to early in the fourth, neither team led by more than five points at any time. The Wizards blew a seven point lead with just under 5 to play and needed Arenas to hit a 31-footer at the end of regulation to take the game to overtime.
Yet in OT, Arenas missed two key free throws after James taunted Arenas at the line, the Cavs rebounded the ball, went downcourt and Damon Jones hit a 17 foot baseline jumper with 4.8 seconds remaining to give the Cavs the lead for good. Caron Butler would miss a 3-pointer on the other end to seal the game, and the series, for the Cavaliers.