This was one of the best performances by the Cavaliers thus far this season. They dominated the Wizards from the get go, as they came away with a 113-87 victory.
When you consider the fact the Wizards gave them the business last week, this was a great bounce back win from the Cavaliers, as they played well on both sides of the floor. LeBron James led the way with 29 points (7-14 FG, 14-17 FT), 10 rebounds, and eight assists. Kevin Love had his most efficient game as a Cavalier, scoring 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
Washington came into this game having trouble holding onto the ball and those woes continued Wednesday night, as they turned the ball over 18 times. Their lack of ball control was the underlining cause for this disastrous loss.
John Wall disappeared tonight, as he scored only six points on 2-of-6 shooting, both buckets were from behind the arc. He did add seven assists, but he didn’t make his presence felt tonight. Bradley Beal wasn’t much better, scoring only 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting. The only Wizard who showed up was Rasual Butler, who came off the bench to score 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including 3-of-5 from downtown.
Aside from turning the ball over too much, the two categories that stood out was from the costless throw line and fast break points. Cleveland went 31-of-38 from the charity stripe while Washington went 16-of-22. The Cavaliers were very aggressive early in the game, especially LeBron James, as he went to line 17 times. In terms of fast break points, the Cavaliers outscored the Wizards 17-to-2, Washington’s two points came in the final minute of regulation when the game was well out of hand. Those were also the only fast break points the Wizards had racked up in almost two games.
The last two games by Washington have been very uncharacteristic from this bunch. Maybe the loss of Nene has really had an effect on them in the short term, but they need to take these next two days of rest to figure out what they need to do and get back to their strengths of playing suffocating defense that leads to fast break opportunities.
As for Cleveland, this was very encouraging, as they have pushed their record back to .500 at 7-7. LeBron James needs to continue to impose his will early and gradually get the supporting cast involved. The offense flowed much better, and they actually made concerted efforts to play team defense. Even though they were able to win by 26 points and hold the Wizards to 87 points, their defense still needs improvement. A lot of Washington’s problems were self-inflicted but give credit to Cleveland for capitalizing.
Cleveland’s next game is against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, as they continue their five-game home stand. Washington will look to bounce back Saturday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, as they start a four-game home stand.