The Washington Wizards’ 119–110 win versus the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night saw Anthony Gill start at the four due to the team’s ever-growing injury list. Cleveland started hot, and it took just five minutes for their five starters to each log a basket. But riding a seven-game winning streak, the Wizards matched the visitors in scoring. It was the Bradley Beal (33 points) and Daniel Gafford (12 points, six rebounds, four blocks) show through the first 12 — the two combined for 20 of Washington’s 27 points in the first quarter, but the home side was down five at the break.
With Beal resting to begin the second, Russell Westbrook (14 points, 11 assists) and the second unit played gritty defense and knocked down shots from all over the court. Davis Bertans was firing from deep, Ish Smith was scrappy as always and Gafford continued to protect the rim.
At the 8:32 mark of the second, the Wizards took their first lead of the game courtesy of a Smith three. The NBA journeyman then dropped a behind-the-back gem to Robin Lopez for an uncontested layup under the rim. The Cavs, led by second-year guard Darius Garland (28 points and nine assists), failed to go away, but Beal’s 20 first-half points helped his team to a 63–60 lead through 24 minutes.
Cleveland came out scoring on all three levels to take the lead, pushing their advantage to six and forcing an early timeout. The Wizards responded with a Bertans three and a Beal layup. For every shot Washington (27–33) made, the Cavs seemed to have an answer. Jarrett Allen, who totaled 27 points and 12 boards, was a menace in the paint and Cedi Osman (19) was knocking down shots after several games of not seeing the court. Despite Beal playing the entirety of the third quarter, the home team fell behind six after three frames played.
An unsuccessful Cleveland (21–39) challenge in the opening stages of the fourth saw Westbrook finish an and-one chance to close the gap to five points. The first-year Wizard was making shots and facilitating, setting up Garrison Mathews for a deep shot and finding Lopez down low.
Washington’s first turnover of the second half came halfway through the fourth, an unfortunate occurrence with the score so tight. Beal, from behind the arc, then tied the affair at 101 apiece with just under six minutes to play. At 4:01, the Laser hit a three to give his team their first advantage since they led 71–69. D.C. ended the match on an 11–2 run to win their eighth straight for the first time since the 2001/02 season.