The Wizards have never looked more helpless at any point this year. After forcing the Cavs to miss their first two shots, there was never really a better stretch of defense played throughout the game.
The Cavs hit 12 of their 30 three point attempts while the Wizards 13 of their 14 attempts from deep and didn't hit one until garbage time. Time after time, the Wizards failed to get back on defense in transition, leading to easy two-on-one and two-on-two fastbreak buckets for the Cavaliers. They turned the ball over, failed to rebound and, overall, just stunk.
The Wizards found themselves down by as many as 40 points in the game. They allowed a season high 127 points in a single game.
The result says it all, but here are the three things we've learned from the game.
The Wizards can't beat good teams
This is no longer a narrative. The Wizards are 3-11 against the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference. They have struggled against Western Conference teams and have stacked up wins against bad teams. Some games have been competitive and the Wizards have been able to hang with some of those really good teams from both conferences, but these are just wins you have to have if you want to prove yourself as an upper echelon team in the league.
The Wizards have had some marquee wins against the Clippers, Spurs, Cavaliers and Rockets, but that is not enough to prove that they area viable title contender. And at this point it is a safe bet to say they aren't. They are closer to the bottom half of the conference right now than they are to the top. And the road doesn't get any easier going forward.
The prospect of 50 wins in the conference is still an achievable goal, but losses against the best teams cannot keep happening.
The Wizards need Bradley Beal
Love him or hate him, Beal brings something essential to the floor for this team: Shooting. Even though he does not take a lot of threes at this point, he still makes a high percentage of them. This team is already short on shooting and losing him really hurts them even further in that area.
The Cavaliers were able to pack the lane and close out to shooters in a conservative fashion because the Wizards did not have anyone who could hurt them from deep. They took a calculated risk by packing the paint and the Wizards could not make them pay. Spacing is everything in today's NBA.
This team only made one three point shot today. Shooting more threes would not have helped, because they don't really have any marquee shooters. Rasual Butler has cooled off, Martell Webster just has not been good at all this season and Otto Porter just does not have a shot at all.
Another shooting wing is going to be something they need going forward, so that is what we should expect them to take a look at as players are bought out of their contracts.
The Wizards can't turn the ball over against good teams
Turning the ball over is bad in general, but it hurts more against some of the better teams in the league. A team with athletes like Kyrie Irving and LeBron James should never be allowed to start transition possessions off of easy turnovers. Those are guaranteed buckets for good teams like the Cavaliers.
The Wizards turned the ball over 18 times and those turnovers led to 33 points. They also gave up 12 offensive rebounds to the Cavs, which is unacceptable. Anytime you are giving up extra possessions to talent like James, Irving and Kevin Love, you are not going to win the game.
The Wizards will have to lick their wounds after this one and suit up against Detroit--a solid team fighting to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. We'll see how well this team bounces back on Sunday.