The Cavaliers made it clear early they are going to take care of business this week as they finished the first half strong with a comfortable 67—55, taking advantage, as most teams in the NBA do on a nightly basis, of the fact that the Wizards do not play defense and allow over 120 points a game (to be precise, 121.2, good for 28th in the league).
When it looked like the Cavaliers were going to blow this one open midway through the 3rd as they claimed a 19-point lead 82-63 after a pair of freebies by Donovan Mitchell (after a shooting foul by...Jordan Poole), the Cavaliers started being a bit loose with the ball. Mike Muscala made a triple, and then Mitchell turned the ball over to Kyle Kuzma who found Tyus Jones for another quick three. Next thing the Wizards were down only 82—71 after a nice 8—0 run.
But, of course, then the Wizards started playing sloppy. Kuzma went for a 29 footer (why not?), and then he and Poole committed shooting fouls (again), and the deficit climbed up again, all the way to 91—71 with 3 minutes to go, to prompt a time-out by coach Unseld, Jr. Not sure what was said in that huddle, but the lead just climbed from there to 101—75 (after a pair of triples by G. Niang), with the Wizards one of those few teams in the league that you are never surprised when they allow over 100 points in just three quarters...
The Wizards just have that way of letting teams know that they will never play hard for more than several minutes at a time...
Kuzma led Wizards scorers with 16, Poole had 8 and Avdija had 7 (each on 11 shots...).
For the Cavaliers, Strus led all scorers with 24, Mitchell had 22, and former Wizards pick J. Allen added 17, along with...19 boards. Oh well.
Let’s see how the Wizards do on Friday night. Same place, same opponent.