It was fun while it lasted, eh gang? The Washington Wizards fell back below .500 last night with a 115-113 loss at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who came in as the losers of six straight and eight of their last nine, and having just fired their general managers.
Washington, D.C., where the rest of the NBA comes to get right. Why does it seem like teams in turmoil always reach their tipping point just before playing the Wizards, who then reciprocate with an apathetic effort?
Ugh. All you really need to know is that Cleveland shot 59.5 percent in the first half...and it felt worse than that. Somehow the Wizards were only down four at that point, but once they came out with the same (dismal) effort in the third quarter, it was pretty clear where this game was headed.
Too bad, because they wasted a pretty good game from John Wall, who finished with 32 points and 10 assists. Actually, all the starters not named Bradley Beal played decently. Marcin Gortat (19 points, eight rebounds,) Nene (13 points, eight rebounds) and Trevor Ariza (14 points, six rebounds) weren't the problem, at least not offensively. Beal, yeesh, finished 4-for-15, with only one of those shot attempts coming from beyond the three-point line. You can probably guess where he took a bulk of those shots. Martell Webster, on the other hand, didn't attempt a shot from inside the arc, and finished with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from three.
But the real problem last night was defensive effort, and the Cavs repeatedly beat Wizards off the dribble and got up shots without having to work for them. Randy Wittman was not pleased, and laid into his team during his postgame presser, calling them "not a good team." We'll have more on that later. In the meantime, try to forget this one.
11 - Cleveland's rebounding advantage (45-34) against Washington.
13 - Cleveland's free throw advantage against Washington. The Cavs made 29 of their 33 freebie attempts (87.9 percent), while the Wizards made only 16 of 23 (69.6 percent).
TWEETS OF THE NIGHT
Cavaliers shot a season-best 59.5% from the field in 1st half to take 67-63 lead at Wizards. pic.twitter.com/7nv6JV4PNj— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 8, 2014
If I had to guess, Randy Wittman's halftime speech pic.twitter.com/RhGOkEZrFR— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) February 8, 2014
An alternate "If I had to guess, Randy Wittman's halftime speech" : pic.twitter.com/N0PKgiNV78— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) February 8, 2014
Randy Wittman is totally the Lee J. Cobb of the NBA.— Amin Vafa (@AminNBA) February 8, 2014
John Wall is one of these guys where when the toothpaste roll is empty, he finds a way to squeeze more out— dc_fusion (@dc_fusion) February 8, 2014
Beal attacked the basket relentlessly against the Spurs. Settles tonight. Defense plays well against West powerhouses. Then this. I give up— Umair Khan (@UKhanNBA) February 8, 2014
VIDEO/GIF OF THE NIGHT
Remember, the Wizards lost by two. (H/T @adammcginnis)
GAMETHREAD COMMENT OF THE NIGHT
- Wizards vs. Cavaliers final score: Washington loses, 115-113, go back under .500
- Wizards vs. Cavaliers: Washington suffers another letdown, falls, 115-113
- Wizards vs. Cavaliers Preview: Don't overlook the team in disarray
- Suggestions for John Wall to use in the 2014 Dunk Contest
- Was switching on defense really the problem vs. the San Antonio Spurs