April 22, 2018

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.

After scoring 28 points against this same Cavaliers team inside the Verizon Center just days ago, John Wall had troubles getting much of anything going offensively. Cleveland’s defense was tight on the Wizards star point guard, holding him to just six points while forcing him to commit five turnovers.

Right from the opening tip, Cleveland was in the driver seat. After Washington brought the score to 10-12 at the game’s first timeout, the LeBron James-led Cavaliers asserted themselves, going on a 19-8 run in the final 5:30 of the opening of the quarter to take a 31-18 lead entering the second period.

While the Wizards hung tough in the next 24 minutes of game action and didn’t allow the deficit to expand, they certainly didn’t do anything to bring the score closer.

Cleveland matched Washington shot-for-shot, allowing the Wizards to close to within nine early in the third quarter before stretching the lead back out for the eventual lopsided victory.

Following the first game of the regular season series, James was criticized for his uninspired play. This time around, it’s hard to gripe about his performance. The All-Star recorded a double-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

The other two parts of Cleveland’s big three — Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love — were effective, as well. Irving contributed 18 points while Love added 21.

The Wizards were led by Rasual Butler with 23 points in 28 minutes off the bench. Paul Pierce led Randy Wittman’s starters with 15 points, including 7-of-10 from the charity stripe. In his first start of the season, Bradley Beal went 0-for-2 from behind the three-point-line and scored 10 points.

Next up, the Wizards come home to the Verizon Center on Saturday, Nov. 29, for a matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.

FIVE REACTIONS

  1. It’s clear the Wizards will live and die by John Wall this season. Against the same team, we’ve seen two different games from him with two different overall results. If the Wizards want steady success in the win column, they’ll need steady success from their leader.
  2. Turnovers were most certainly a factor in this loss. While Cleveland committed nine, the Wizards turned the ball over 18 times and the Cavaliers managed 24 points off those turnovers. It’s the second game in a row turnovers have been a factor.
  3. Off the bench, Butler has been a nice find for the Wizards this year. The 11-year veteran from LaSalle is averaging 7.2 points per game and his PER rating of 17.65 ranks him second on the team behind Wall (21.6). That kind of production from a reserve only bodes well, but they’ll still need starters to step up.
  4. Speaking of starters, Washington’s five didn’t fare well in this contest at all. Marcin Gortat grabbed a season-worst two rebounds in the effort and the starters turned the basketball over a combined 13 times. Along the same lines, the absence of Nene was certainly felt as Kris Humphries provided just three points and three boards in replace of the Brazilian, and the Cavaliers found plenty of success with close-range high-percentage shots.
  5. To not mention LeBron James and his supporting cast of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love would be disrespectful to them. The trio accounted for 68 of Cleveland’s 113 points and flexed some serious muscle. As of right now, they’re the team to beat and the Wizards have two more opportunities to show that they can hang with them when the Cavaliers are clicking on all cylinders.
About Brian Skinnell

Brian Skinnell is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Nationals and college football. He is a born-and-raised follower of Washington, D.C. sports, “The” Ohio State Buckeyes and auto racing. A graduate of Shepherd University in December of 2014, he has a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a Concentration in Sports Communications. Prior to joining District Sports Page (for his second stint), he spent time with Rant Sports, Yahoo Sports and the Washington Redskins. For his day job, he is an Editor for Team Velocity Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Skinnell.

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