The entire burden of upsetting the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs now rests solely with Antawn Jamison.
The reason behind is out of the Big Three at Washington Wizards, two are injured and these days Jamison is the key player for the team.
Forward Jarvis Hayes said Jamison is the Wizards’ leading scorer now and would have to be much more aggressive on offense. The other players’ main job thus far is to make things as easy as possible for Jamison on the court. Hayes expects things to get tough as teams would now target Jamison more than before.
Every player on the Wizards team has changed roles since Gilbert Arenas injured his knee and Caron Butler his hand. However, it appears that Jamison has been the hardest hit by the injuries. You can’t afford to wait for time and find open spaces, as the opposing team’s defenders are concentrated elsewhere. Jamison can no longer have a night off as his two teammates are not there to replace him.
Coach Eddie Jordan said that with Butler and Arenas injured, Jamison would have to take on the added responsibility of being the passer, the setter and also the scorer.
Jamison was in a similar situation for several seasons when he was with the Golden State Warriors. In fact, he managed to score 51 points in consecutive games back in 2000.
He joined the Wizards in 2004 and has played primarily as the impulsive-wise veteran of young Arenas. These statistics have been quite consistent in recent years. He usually scores 20 points and 8 rebounds in each game. In this year’s regular season, Jamison has averaged 19.4 points and 8 rebounds.
Jamison knows he can’t lead the Wizards alone. He said it was too much pressure and that a player could get in trouble trying to do it because it was impossible to do the things that Arenas and Butler do on their own.
For Game 1 against the Cavaliers, while Jamison knows he can’t beat them alone, his team will be looking to him for more points, rebounds and court lead.