Five different Wizards reached double-digits as Washington opened up final stretch of their schedule with a 110-103 win over the Cavaliers on Thursday night.
The Cavaliers got off to a fast start as LeBron James pushed the tempo early to create opportunities for himself and others. Cleveland ran off to a double-digit lead less than nine minutes into the game and maintained that advantage until midway through the second quarter.
Scott Brooks closed the half by going small with Markieff Morris at center, and that tweak changed the tide of the game. Kelly Oubre made some shots to open up the floor, and it freed up the rest of the offense to move the ball around and create better scoring opportunities. Over the final 7:05 of the half, the Wizards turned a 12-point deficit into a three point lead at halftime.
After a back-and-forth third quarter, Washington went on a 15-4 run midway through the fourth quarter to take the lead for good. Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Jodie Meeks and Oubre all made shots during the run while Cleveland missed several open chances to keep pace on the other end.
James tried to will the Cavaliers back into the game late, and the Wizards helped by reverting back to the slow, ISO-heavy offense that hurt them in late games earlier this season. Thankfully, right when it looked like the Cavs might have a shot, Scott Brooks drew up a wonderful out-of-timeout play to get Otto Porter an open bucket to put the Wizards up by five with under a minute to go and seal the victory.
Coach Brooks draws up the ATO for tonight's @MonsterProducts Monstrous Moment!#WizCavs #DCFamily pic.twitter.com/GoMizG6OnH— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) February 23, 2018
With the win, Washington is now only half a game behind Cleveland in the standings. If the Wizards can beat the Hornets on Friday and the Grizzlies take down the Cavaliers, Washington would move into sole possession of third place.
Kelly Oubre makes Washington a lot harder to beat
Oubre snapped out of his recent shooting slump with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including three 3-pointers. He was a big part of the Wizards’ run in the second quarter to take the lead after they struggled for most of the start of the game.
He’s had several big games against Cavaliers recently. He had 16 in Washington’s win in Cleveland last season and went off for 21 the first time these two met this season. If Washington has to face Cleveland in a playoff series, Oubre’s shooting will be a major factor.
Satoransky goes missing when it counts
Tomas Satoransky had another marvelous game, but wasn’t much of a factor in the fourth quarter. He only played the final 2:14, which feels like a waste because by that point in a close game, teams play so slow and conservative that it wastes his talents.
To be fair to Scott Brooks, Satoransky played the entire third quarter, and Jodie Meeks had a nice little outing, so it’s hard to blame him for trying to squeeze whatever he could out of him, considering the team has to play again on Friday. However, it would have been nice to see Satoransky get out there a minute or two sooner. It probably would have gone a long way in helping the Wizards maintain some rhythm when they really needed it to close out the game.
- We’ll go out on a limb and assume the Wizards are undefeated when Marcin Gortat dunks on LeBron James on the first possession of the game.
Getting the second half started.— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) February 23, 2018
SHEESH, @MGortat!#WizCavs pic.twitter.com/GZHPy2CkZT
- Cleveland only made 8 of their 35 shots from deep in this game. As nice as this win is, you have to think things would’ve been a little different if shots fell at a normal rate for Cleveland.
- Kelly Oubre paid tribute to J.R. Smith by trying to untie Rodney Hood’s shoelaces during the game:
The Cavs’ video board caught Kelly Oubre Jr. trying to untie Rodney Hood’s sneakers during a dead ball pic.twitter.com/lGIIPGnuGK— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 23, 2018
Next up: The Wizards are back in action Friday night as they host the Charlotte Hornets at 7 p.m.