Seven Wizards players scored in double-figures — led by John Wall with 37 points and Bradley Beal with 27 — as Washington defeated Cleveland, 127-115. Kelly Oubre also chipped in 16 points on 7-8 shooting as the Wizards picked up one of their best road wins of the season to kick off a brutal five-game road swing.
Washington started the game by turning in one of their best quarters of the season, thanks to the hot shooting of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Wall came out looking for his jumper early on and he was knocking them down. Once Wall was in a rhythm, his backcourt mate, Bradley Beal decided that it was his turn to get going. Beal connected on two very tough step-back jumpers as the Wizards started 13-17 from the field.
But John Wall wasn’t done there. Wall stayed in attack mode and finished the quarter a perfect 8-8 from the field with 18 points and five assists as the House of Guards combined for more points (27) than the Cavaliers scored in the quarter (26) as the Wizards took a 40-26 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The hot shooting carried over to the second quarter as the Wizards were able to stretch the lead out to 17. But as expected, the reigning champs would counter. The Wizards had a few lapses on the defensive end leading to two open threes for Kyle Korver in the corner. Then, LeBron started doing LeBron things, driving to the hole for poster dunks and finding his teammates for open shots as the Cavs were able to cut the lead down to six midway through the quarter.
Washington responded with a run of their own as the starting unit came back in to finish the half. The Wizards shot 70 percent in the first half and 5-9 from three-point range as they led 71-61 going into the break.
Again, the champs wouldn’t go down easily. With James on the bench, the Cavs’ reserves made a run to cut the Wizards lead down to 5 heading into the fourth quarter.
The teams traded baskets to start the fourth quarter but the Wizards would clamp down on the defensive end. Kelly Oubre led the charge, turning Cleveland turnovers into points on the other end. His signature play came midway through the fourth quarter as he gathered a Markieff Morris miss for a putback layup to put the Wizards up 10, 117-107.
The Cavs would waive the white flag at the two-minute mark and empty their bench as the Wizards pulled away for an impressive, 127-115 win.
Incredible first quarter from Wall
We’ve seen some incredible performances from Wall over the years and the first quarter of tonight’s game was right up there. Wall was a perfect 8-8 from the field including 2-2 from three-point range as he scored 18 points and dished out 5 assists in the first quarter. Wall did most of his damage from deep and in the midrange during the first quarter and then attacked the hole later in the game. Wall either scored or assisted on 28 of the Wizards’ 40 first quarter points.
John Wall's 1st quarter:— NBA (@NBA) March 26, 2017
-100% shooting from the field
Kelly Oubre’s offense reappears
Defense hasn’t been the issue for Oubre, his struggles have been on the offensive end. Oubre scored 16 points off the bench, the most he’s scored in months, with most of them coming either on transition layups or putbacks for second chance points. Oubre was a huge spark off the Wizards bench and they needed it considering Bojan Bogdanovic missed the game with back stiffness.
Defense steps up when it matters most
Washington’s defense through the first three quarters was not very good. However, the Wizards stepped up defensively in the fourth quarter when it mattered most. Wall played with intensity, they locked down LeBron James (as much as you can), and turned the Cavs over to seal the victory.
The Wizards’ best fourth quarter defense came with the small lineup of Wall-Beal-Porter-Oubre-Morris on the floor.