April 22, 2018

Washington Wizards Game 61 Recap: Cavs blow out the Wiz who fail to get over .500 hump, again

When the Cleveland Cavaliers visited the Washington Wizards last Sunday, it was no contest with LeBron James getting the day off. Tonight the defending Eastern Conference champions had another member of their “Big Three” sit with Kevin Love sitting. Washington kept things competitive in the first quarter on national television but it was no contest the rest of the way. Cleveland got a balanced scoring performance with six players in double figures while Washington saw players not named John Wall shot 36.9 percent from the floor. Washington has not been over the .500 mark since two games before Thanksgiving on November 24th and that streak continued tonight with a 108-83 loss.

It was an evenly matched game early on as both teams missed their first three shots each before the game being tied at 6 apiece with 7:33 left in the quarter. Bradley Beal came into the game for a struggling Garrett Temple, but immediately committed back-to-back turnovers leading to run out James dunks. As a part of Cleveland’s 8-0 run, Randy Wittman burned a timeout when Washington got down 16-7. While John Wall sat with two personal fouls, Beal attempted to make up for his early woes with eight points in the quarter including two from beyond the arc. Kyrie Irving had eight points of his own which secured the Cavaliers 27-23 lead after one quarter of play.

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Washington Wizards Game 58 Recap: With LeBron resting, Wiz take care of the Cavs

(Photo by: @SportsCenter)

(Photo by: @SportsCenter)

Many were worried about the inconsistent play of the Washington Wizards defense after just squeaking by the woeful Philadelphia 76ers on Friday. With the prospect of the defending Eastern Conference champions coming into town, head coach Randy Wittman knew “we’re not going to outscore them.” In the middle of a three game in four day stretch, Cavaliers coach Ty Lue announced that LeBron James (rest) would not play against Washington. The Wizards had played the undermanned Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls after the all-star break without any success and knew they had to take care of business at the Phone Booth. Led by John Wall (21p, 13a) and Otto Porter (21p, 5r), Washington controlled the game after an early hiccup on their way to a 113-99 victory,

Washington quickly fell in a 15-8 hole, but they responded with a 22-8 run to turn a seven point deficit into a seven point advantage. John Wall was getting his teammates involved with five first quarter assists, while the Wizards received an extra boost off their bench with 15 points in the first twelve minutes of play. After Cleveland got off to a good start shooting the basketball, they finished the quarter just 9 of 23 (39.1 percent), which allowed Washington to hold a 35-28 lead.

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Washington Wizards Game 33 Review: James, Irving handle Wizards in shootout

On Tuesday, the Washington Wizards hoped to repeat the success they had a month and a half ago against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio. Their offense was up to the challenge, but LeBron James and company proved too much for the Washington defense this time around, and the home team fell, 121-115.

The game was a shootout and a fantastic display of shooting prowess, with both teams shooting well over 50 percent from the field. However, Cleveland’s superior talent eclipsed Washington’s balanced scoring, and All-Stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving both finished with over 30 points. Garrett Temple led the Wiz with 21 points, including 12 in the third quarter, and John Wall finished with 20 points and 12 assists in a matchup of two top-flight point guards. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 15 Recap: When things looked bad, John Wall comes through as Wiz down Cavs

WALL JOINS WESTBROOK, HARDEN AS ONLY PLAYER WITH 30 POINTS, 10 ASSISTS, AND 5 STEALS THIS SEASON

(Photo by: @Wizards)

(Photo by: @Wizards)

To say nerves were boiling over for the Washington Wizards is a bit of an understatement. Although we are not even a fifth of the way through the season, Washington is currently playing some of their worst basketball.  Already on a four-game losing streak, the Wizards had to travel to the defending Eastern Champions Cleveland Cavaliers for a bout with LeBron James. Behind John Wall‘s best scoring performance this season of 35 points, the Wizards broke their losing streak with a 97-85 victory over James and the Cavs.

If there was ever a time that Washington showed the effects of a shot in the arm, it was in the opening minutes from the Q. Fueled by two blocks and four steals courtesy of John Wall, the Wizards were off on a 10-0 run before the arena was even full. However James and the Cavs would not be shutout for long, as they came back with a 14-4 run of their own following a David Blatt timeout. A strong quarter of play from Marcin Gortat (10 points, 4 boards, and 4 blocks) allowed Washington to maintain a 27-24 lead after one quarter.

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Washington Wizards Game 14 Review: Wiz Fall in Rematch With Cavs

WALL HELD TO SIX POINTS, CAVS BLOW OUT WIZARDS

For the second time in six days, the Washington Wizards took the floor against the Cleveland Cavaliers, dropping the rematch Wednesday night in Cleveland, 113-87.

The second of four games that these two rivals will play this year was a mirror opposite of their first matchup in D.C. last Friday night, which the Wizards (9-5) won in an impressive fashion. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 11 Review: Wiz dump Cavs on Wall’s big night

WIZARDS SEND CLEVELAND TO LOSING RECORD AFTER 11 GAMES

John Wall scored 28 points, pulled down six rebounds, had seven assists and four steals to lead the Washington Wizards to a 91-78 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 22 points apiece. The Wizards are now 8-3 overall, 5-1 at home this season. The Cavs went below .500 with their third straight loss.

“He’s [Wall] our leader, man. He’s asked to carry a big load for this ball club. He’s an All-Star. He’s going to do the scoring, he’s going to do the assists, he’s going to be a defender. That is why you are going to see a lot of his jerseys in the stands,” said Wizards forward Paul Pierce.

Washington head coach Randy Wittman was forced to call a timeout with 6:36 left in the first quarter after back-to-back turnovers by Wall and Marcin Gortat led to fast break points by Anderson Varejao and LeBron James, giving the Cavs a 13-8 lead.

Immediately following the timeout, Bradley Beal came into the game for Garrett Temple, as he eases his way back into the starting lineup. Beal instantly triggered fast breaks with back-to-back steals from James and Kyrie Irving, which led to a Wall layup followed by a Wall three-point play to tie the game at 13.

Cleveland head coach David Blatt said about the causes of Cavs’ turnover problems, “Irresponsible play with the ball and bad decisions. I can think of, off the top of my head, five or six clear breaks where we didn’t finish with a shot and that is just not high-level basketball.”

James’s finger roll gave the Cavs their last lead at 21-17 with 2:40 remaining in the first quarter. The Wizards overtook the Cavs for good with a 9-0 run to close the quarter, keyed by Beal’s three-pointer bracketed by a Wall layup and 21-footer. The quarter was punctuated by Tristan Thompson’s goaltending rejection of Otto Porter’s putback with 1.8 seconds left.

The Wizards continued to build their lead into the second quarter. The Cavs called timeout on their possession after Beal’s finger roll gave the Wizards a nine-point lead at 36-27 with 7:40 left before halftime. Paul Pierce’s three-pointer extended the Wizards’ lead to 13 at 48-35. Joe Harris tried to answer with a floating runner in the lane, but was called for a charging foul. The Wizards would carry their 13-point lead into halftime at 55-42.

The Wizards’ biggest lead of the game came when consecutive 20-footers by Wall forced a Cavs timeout with 3:44 left in the third quarter, trailing by 16 at 72-56. The Cavs never mounted a serious comeback bid, not making a basket in the final 9 minutes of the game. The exclamation point came with Beal’s three-pointer with 1:25 left in the game restored a 12-point lead.

“First thing is that guys have to take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves where and how they can impact positively and try to simplify things. You have to look and see if you can make a change or two but not recreate the wheel. You have to stay in there and show grit and get a good day to gain a yard at a time,” said Blatt.

“You know, all year, it’s a long year, every time you have big emotional wins, and you come into the next game, those are the games that are trap games, and that is what I tried to tell the guys. You know those are the games that great teams win, and it feels good and hopefully we can put this win behind us and move on because we have another test on a Milwaukee team that have been playing great,” said Pierce.

Washington Wizards Game 56 Recap: Wall’s 21 points help Wizards top Cavaliers

When John Wall and Kyrie Irving go head-to-head, even a contest between two teams struggling to stay in playoff talks can be billed as a marquee matchup.

On Sunday night, however, Wall’s performance topped Irving’s as the Wizards’ point guard posted 21 points, nine assists and three rebounds to help Washington a 96-83 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza added 17 and 15 points, respectively, and the Wizards maintained control of the game since going on a 12-0 run halfway through the first quarter. The Cavaliers gained enough momentum to trim the Wizards’ lead to just three points by the end of the quarter, but Washington stayed a step ahead for the duration of the game.

And, it wasn’t without pomp and circumstance. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 62 Wrap: Wall posts season-high 27 points as Wiz fall 95-90 to Cavaliers

John Wall posted a season-high 27 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers (22-42) Tuesday night at Quicken Loans Arena, but the Washington Wizards (20-42) could not hold it together in their 95-90 loss.

As has been the case since Wall’s return to the team on Jan. 12, his highest point totals appear at times to coincide with a lack of offense elsewhere – or, more importantly, a lack of Bradley Beal in the lineup.

The issue did not stem from the starting five – in fact, each starter tallied double-digit points and Emeka Okafor and Nene added 11 and 10 rebounds respectively. Wall also notched 14 assists and seven rebounds to add to the Wizards’ efforts. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 26: Turnovers burn Wizards in 87-84 loss to Cavaliers

The Washington Wizards’ (3-23) 20 turnovers proved costly as the last-place team fell yet again, this time to Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers (7-23) by the score of 87-84 Wednesday night.

The Cavaliers entered the Boxing Day match-up with more losses than the Wizards, but even Santa himself couldn’t wrap up a win for an ailing team forced to start its days-old point guard due to a Jordan Crawford rules violation.

Crawford delivered 17 points and three rebounds off the bench, but reports indicated he was seated for the start due to his late arrival to Wednesday’s shootaround.

Whether or not starting Shelvin Mack sent the appropriate message to Crawford, Mack arose to the occasion soon enough.

In the first quarter, he grabbed a defensive rebound, which set Martell Webster up for an easy dunk to make it 15-10 Wizards. After Washington expanded their lead to 10 points, Mack provided Emeka Okafor with a similar opportunity, opening him up for a dunk to make it 22-10.

Okafor tallied eight of his 17 points on the evening in the first quarter alone. He also managed 10 rebounds and four blocks before day’s end.

With less than five minutes left in the quarter, it looked like the Wizards would make the most of the Cavaliers’ ugly shot attempts and the referees’ reluctance to blow the whistle.

That is, until Irving had something to say about it.

After sinking a technical free throw and a long jumper, Irving set up Tyler Zeller for a huge dunk to trim the Wizards’ lead to just 22-17. Irving’s two free throws to end the quarter trimmed the lead to just four as the Wizards maintained a 26-22 lead at the buzzer.

Despite Washington’s decent start, turnovers continued to cost the Wizards’ countless opportunities to add padding to their lead. Back-to-back-to-back bad passes by Nene, Cartier Martin and Nene again in the second quarter helped spark the Cavaliers’ offense – which, more or less, relied upon Irving, who led with 26 points and eight assists on the night.

Nevertheless, the second piece of Washington’s Christmas signings – Garrett Temple – kept the Wizards within two as he dropped the hammer with just seconds left in the half to make it 45-43 Cavaliers.

Surprisingly enough, the Wizards started the third quarter on a 12-0 run, which included back-to-back three-pointers by Mack.

But, it didn’t take long for Washington’s 62-53 lead to dwindle.

If earlier turnovers failed to indicate that the lead would not hold, Webster’s goaltending turnover – against himself – seemed to leave fans shaking their heads muttering, “Only on the Wizards…” Through traffic, Crawford managed a stellar pass to a wide-open Webster, but Webster drove for the dunk by grabbing onto the rim with his left hand and attempting to sink the ball with his right.

Rather than wowing the crowd, the play resulted in a whistle and no additional points for the Wizards.

It also seemed to awake the Cavaliers’ offense, which made it a tie game – 68 apiece – at the close of the quarter.

The Wizards managed to hold onto a narrow lead for several minutes into the fourth. With 5:11 remaining, however, the Cavaliers’ Alonzo Gee made a huge dunk – two-handed, to be safe – and Zeller followed up with a layup to make it a tie game at 79-79.

Dion Waiters sunk a huge three-pointer to give Cleveland an 82-79 lead with 3:35 left to play, but Okafor’s two-point shot brought the Wizards within one. With under a minute left, Okafor made one of two free throws to tie it, but Tristan Thompson answered with a go-ahead jumper and-1.

With just seconds left, Irving made the first of two free throws due to Temple’s personal foul, but immediately after, Crawford drew a foul himself and sunk both of his free throws.

Down to seconds left to play, Irving made it 87-84 on one last free throw, and Crawford’s missed buzzer-beater attempt from three-point-land allowed the Wizards to tie Cleveland in the loss column with 23 apiece.

The loss also enabled the Cavaliers to do what the Wizards have yet to accomplish all season – win two games back-to-back.

Additionally, the game marked Shaun Livingston’s return to the Verizon Center – in a Cavaliers jersey – but he did not play.

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 1: Wiz fall to Cavaliers in season opener, 94-84

The Washington Wizards are going to have trouble scoring this season when everyone is healthy, let alone on nights like Tuesday, when they missed out on the services of John Wall, Nene and Kevin Seraphin. The result was an unfortunately predictable ten-point loss in Cleveland to the Cavaliers in both team’s season debut.

Cleveland benefitted from a game-high 29 points from 2011 rookie of the year Kyrie Irving, and all Wall could do was watch from the stands as he recovers from a knee injury that will delay his season debut until early December.

The Wizards started the fourth quarter down 12, but a 14-point run gave them life midway through the frame. But the Cavs bounced back to shake the Wizards and then ran away from them as time expired.

Rookie Bradley Beal scored eight points in his league debut on 2-of-8 shooting from the floor (2-of-4 from 3PT).

In fact, the Wizards team shooting overall was dismal at 36 percent, including Wall’s replacement, A.J. Price, who went 2-for-13. He managed seven points and six assists. Jamal Crawford scored 11 points from the bench on 4-for-13 shooting.

It’s going to be a common theme for these Wizards this season. They shipped out a bunch of talented knuckleheads for solid citizens and good defenders, but the offense has to come from somewhere.

With Nene’s injury history, it’s going to be tough for this team to fill his big shoes on nights he needs off, and Emeka Okefor has to do a better job than the 10 points and seven rebounds (team high) that he did tonight. Cleveland big man Anderson Varejao had nine points on the inside, but grabbed a whopping 23 rebounds, including 12 on the offensive boards which turned into second chance points for the Cavs last night.

“They (Cavaliers) dictated the tempo, which I thought was key,” head coach Randy Wittman said after. “We can’t get beat up on the boards like we did (54-39) or shoot free throws like we did (12-for-20) and have a realistic chance to win.”

The Wizards have their home opener Saturday with a visit by the Boston Celtics at 7:00 pm at Verizon Center.

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