David Liam Kyle
The Wizards entered tonight’s contest against the Cavaliers with a prime opportunity to pick up a road win. But even with Kyrie Irving sidelined, however, they’d go on to lose 95-90.
Washington started the game with a statement, jumping out to a big 13 point first quarter lead, spurred mainly by John Wall, Emeka Okafor, and Martell Webster.
Over the next two quarters, however, Washington would combine for a meager 32 points and watch Cleveland’s reserves slowly put the game out of reach. With the exception of a late game run during a Cavaliers scoring drought, the Wizards would fail to put together a respectable effort to keep the score close.
The Wizards head back to Washington for a three-game home stand after stringing together more embarrassing road losses.
Tonight’s Wizards MVP was John Wall. On a night when his jumper was erratic, Wall consistently maneuvered around Cleveland’s guards getting to the free throw line at will and connecting on 13 of his 14 attempts. Wall flirted with a triple double, too, dishing 14 assists and pulling down 7 rebounds.
Aside from a couple confounding late game turnovers, Wall played arguably his best game of the season. It’s too bad his performance was overshadowed by a loss in a very winnable game.
Nene: Nene had a solid game that could have been better. He was able to establish position on the block against Cleveland’s defenders, but failed to hit his shots early. He was later forced to the bench late in the second quarter with 3 fouls. At the time, he’d only hit 1 of his 8 field goal attempts.
Nene would go on to post 15 points (5-for-6 from the free throw line) and 11 rebounds, but I felt like he should have excelled more against Cleveland’s young, inexperienced front line.
Tristan Thompson: Tristan Thompson overcame a somewhat slow start to post a nice 13 point, 14 rebound (6 offensive) line. Late in the first half, Thompson was instrumental in getting Nene into foul trouble, as he used his speed from just outside the paint to get to the rim.
Thompson was also key in helping the Cavaliers get second chance points, which proved to be one of the factors that prevented the Wizards from closing their second half deficit.
John Wall was spectacular. Not only were his point and rebound totals very impressive, but he managed to squeeze 14 assists out of a team that shot barely 40% from the floor. Wall is also gaining confidence in his jump shot, as he noticeably deferred less and ventured beyond the right elbow.
Emeka Okafor was also great, albeit for a limited time. He notched 10 first quarter points (5-for-6 shooting) and 6 rebounds in the first quarter alone. While his minutes for the remainder of the game were scattered, Okafor would finish with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
Washington suffered from a lack of consistent perimeter scoring for most of the game. Martell Webster started the game scorching, going 3 for 3 from three-point range as the Wizards opened up a large first quarter lead.
But he’d have trouble finding his spots, going 2-for-8 from beyond the arc for the remainder of the game. AJ Price and Trevor Ariza combined to go 1-for-5 from 3-point range, and the Wizards as a team shot 5-for-17.
On a night like this, I’m sure the team wishes Brad Beal was in the lineup.
Washington’s bench in this game was non-existent. AJ Price was the second unit’s leading scorer with 3 points, and a few others chipped in with 2 points each. Trevor Ariza, despite his good play lately, was a complete non-factor and Chris Singleton looked like he shouldn’t have logged minutes at all.
Washington’s bench also played poor defensively, allowing Cleveland’s CJ Miles and Wayne Ellington combine for 22 points.