The Washington Wizards pickedup a play-in berth clinching victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, 120-105 earlier tonight.
With the potential of clinching a spot in the play-in tournament, the Wizards needed this game, but it turned out despite the Cavaliers being short-handed, the Wizards would be in for a fight.
The Wizards struggled early on keeping the Cavaliers off the board. In the 1st quarter alone, they were outrebounded 19-8, where the Cavaliers’ Jarrett Allen alone had 8 rebounds. The physical aggressive style set the tone for a tough matchup early on.
The Cavaliers, despite their physical presence inside, still struggled holding onto the ball. The Cavs’ 12 first half turnovers gave the Wizards chances to continue to find their rhythm. In the 2nd half, the Wizards were able to pick their rhythm offensively and open up a 15 point lead.
The big 3rd quarter was a catalyst for the Wizards to open a 19-point lead in the 4th and put this game on ice. The victory gives the Wizards a play-in berth, but it also gives them a chance to potentially still move up to as high as the 8th seed.
The “Others” Stepped Up
For anyone who watches Inside the NBA, you are probably familiar with term “Others.” “Others” is another name for role players. On a day where this team is missing their leading scorer, Bradley Beal, there was a need for their role players to step up.
Unfortunately things started off poorly. Davis Bertans shot 1 for 6 from 3 point range and Rui Hachimura wasn’t much better, shooting 3-10 from the field in the 1st half. Between the two, Rui was able to step it up in the 2nd half, shooting 4-5, and leading their breakthrough surge in the 3rd quarter. Bertans finished with 17 points on 3-11 3 point shooting and Rui finished with 14 points. Off the bench Robin Lopez finished with 14 points, while Daniel Gafford and Anthony Gill finished with 12 each.
3rd Quarter Surge
Speaking of 3rd quarter surge, the Wizards, heavy favorites coming into this game, struggled for most of the 1st half with the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers were able to open up a 7-point lead at one point, but the Wizards closed the half with a 2-point lead. In the 3rd, the Wizards finally got their rhythm due to better defense and timely shooting. This allowed the Wizards to open up a 15-point lead to end the quarter, thanks to a 11-1 run at the end of the frame.
Clean Floor Game for Russ
Russell Westbrook had a notable game, collecting his 183rd career triple double. In addition to adding to his triple-double record, Westbrook played a very clean floor game, racking up 17 assists, while only getting 1 turnover. The 1 turnover he had came in the 4th quarter with the game well in hand. Westbrook looked for his teammates early and often, and when they finally delivered, the Wizards were able to put the game away.