So ladies and gentlemen... Let's take some deep breaths...
The Cavaliers played their first game after the firing of General Manager Chris Grant so to be honest, I expected them to play a competitive game. They came to D.C. tonight having lost six games in a row. Also, given that the Wizards just came off a competitive, yet tough loss to the Spurs last Wednesday, you'd think that they would come back with another strong effort and get them back above .500.
But, in typical Wizards fashion, they didn't. And the end result was a disappointing 115-113 loss against a lowly team, the latest in a season filled with them. The Wizards have now lost home games to the Bucks, 76ers, Pistons, Celtics (without Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley), Nuggets (without Ty Lawson), Spurs (without Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker for a half plus) and Cavaliers. Twice.
Let's re-live the carnage.
In the first half, the Cavs shot 59.5 percent overall. The Wizards, 54.3 percent. Basically, this was a shootout when you look at the scoreboard, since Cleveland was up 67-63. We saw a lot of Cavs score points and make shots at a high rate, in particular C.J. Miles and Dion Waiters. Waiters scored 24 points in the game.
And to top it all off, much-maligned No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett also had a strong half. He scored seven points during the first two quarters, more than double his season scoring average! To be fair, he's scored double digits in three of his last six games.
The good guys had their moments. They made 7-10 threes in the half, four by Martell Webster. John Wall had a couple good fast break buckets, including a driving layup at the end of the first quarter. Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat also played well too. While the Wizards had a 38-32 lead at the end of the first, they didn't attempt a free throw, maybe because they were making a lot of shots. That was a concern for me, and it bit them when they cooled off a little bit in the second.
Then in the second half, the Wizards weren't able to get back to a lead. We saw Wall get called for a foul on Kyrie Irving while attempting a three, which got the Cleveland lead up to 80-72. The Wizards then chipped away at the lead to get it to 81-78, but the Cavs responded to get lead back up eight, 93-85. And they were still shooting nearly 60 percent for the game! Will they ever cool off?
Nope. After a Dion Waiters three which got the score up to 97-87 in the fourth, that became clear. Cleveland got to a lead as high as 14 points at one point before the Wizards made a last-ditch comeback. Things got very interesting in the last two minutes, as Martell hit two threes in the last seconds of the game. When Jarrett Jack missed two free throws, it was just a two-point game with 2.9 seconds left. But Jack deflected Nene's outlet pass, and that pretty much sealed it.
This is an emotionally-frustrating loss for the Wizards, and for us. It's not so much about the Cavaliers. Give them credit for the win. It's just that the Wizards went 3-2 in a season-defining stretch against five top teams in the Western Conference ... then submitted that effort.
We need to see the Wizards win consistently against teams that don't figure to make the playoffs this season. And that's not happening right now on a consistent basis.
- John Wall was honored earlier tonight and showed his All-Star Jersey. He addressed the crowd before the game.
- The 67 points Washington gave up in the first half was the most points they have given up for the 2013-2014 season.
- Wall was the leading scorer today with 32 points and 10 assists.
- Kyrie Irving is sometimes accused of not involving his teammates as well as he could be. I just think that he is in a position not unlike John Wall was before the Nene trade. Anyway, in the first half, Irving had a double double with 12 points and 10 assists. He finished with 23 and 12.
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