Last season, the Wizards had a tendency to play down to the opposition, especially early in the year when they lost winnable games to cellar-dwellers like the Suns and Mavericks. They didn’t let that happen in this one, as they faced the team with the worst record in the Eastern Conference on the second night of back-to-back games, while missing Kevin Love, George Hill, and Kyle Korver.
Bradley Beal and Otto Porter combined for 19 points in the first quarter, as the Wizards racked up a season-high 41 points in the first quarter to take an early double-digit lead. The reserves helped the cause in the second quarter as they extended the lead out to 20 points three minutes into the second quarter.
Cleveland made a brief run in the third quarter to trim the lead down to 13, but that’s as close as it would get to a competitive game the rest of the way. Washington responded to the Cavaliers’ run by keeping them from making a free throw for the next 5:40 while they got the lead back over 20 and ensured the starters wouldn’t need to play a single second in the fourth quarter. No starter played over 30 minutes. Beal and Porter were the only two who played over 22 minutes.
The Wizards needed to make the most of this soft spot in the schedule to get back on track after their disastrous start to the season. So far, so good. The next chance comes on Friday as they’ll go for their fourth win in a row as they host the Brooklyn Nets.
The Wizards are finally having fun
This sounds like such a cheesy thing to say, but Washington finally looks like they’re enjoying playing basketball together. Granted, it’s easy to look like you’re having fun when you’re cruising to an easy win and demonstrably better than your opponent, but the Wizards have played their share of bad teams this season and it didn’t look like this.
The Wizards finished with a season-high 30 assists and a season-high 17 steals, showing the kind of teamwork and energy they’ll need to get back into the playoff picture.
Bradley Beal makes more history
Beal made his 900th three in this game, and in doing so became the youngest player in NBA history to reach that mark, passing J.R. Smith.
Ian Mahinmi also made history
It took 556 games, but Mahinmi finally made the first 3-pointer of his NBA career late in the first half.
It isn’t easy to add a new skill at age 32, but Mahinmi put in the work to get it to where he could feel comfortable shooting it when the opportunities arrive. It may not ever get to the point where Washington is drawing up plays to get him open to shoot, but it’s always nice to have it as an option when the opportunity is there.