After suffering their one and only loss at home to the hands of the Washington Wizards back on December 1st, the Cleveland Cavaliers looked determined to get their revenge. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving led the way and combined to score 66 points in their 121-115 victory over Washington.
Going into the second quarter the Cavaliers were down 26-24, but LeBron James would start to put his stamp on the game and give Cleveland complete control. James would tie the game at 37 with 6:54 remaining in the first half. “King” James would proceed to score 12 total points in the second quarter, giving the Cavs a 62-50 halftime lead. His domination wouldn’t stop there, as he scored 14 points in the first six minutes of the third quarter. That included a three-point barrage where LeBron drained four consecutive three-pointers on four straight Cleveland possessions
LeBron would finish the game leading all scorers with 34 points on 12-of-22 shooting from the field, including 4-of-9 from behind the arc. James also grabbed 10 rebounds to give him his 10th double-double of the season.
Battle of All-Star Point Guards
It wasn’t long ago when John Wall made the statement ‘it’s a joke’ that Kyrie Irving should be selected as an All-Star because of the lack games played this season. That’s a very fair statement but tonight it was Irving who proved his worthiness of an All-Star bid.
Washington couldn’t stop him, as he finished with 32 points on 14-of-22 shooting from the field in 34 minutes of play. Of those 32 points, 19 of them came in the fourth quarter, including 10 straight points to start the quarter.
John Wall wasn’t very efficient tonight but he still ended the game with his 19th double-double of the season. Wall had 20 points (8-of-19) and 12 assists but turned the ball over seven times. Wall knocked down all four of his three-point attempts but missed both of his free throw attempts, figures.
Wizards Storm Back
LeBron James and company would blitz to an 18-point lead in the third quarter, but the Wizards weren’t fazed and found their offensive stride. At the 10:04 mark in the third quarter the Cavaliers were up 73-55, but Washington would finish the quarter outscoring Cleveland 34-to-22. During that stretch the Wizards would knock down seven three-pointers, three from starting guard Garrett Temple.
Washington would continue their amazing play into the fourth quarter, as they would tie the game at 95 on a Nene steal and Ramon Sessions fast break dunk, bringing the Verizon Center crowd to their feet. Unfortunately for the Wizards, the magic seemed to end as Irving would go on his 10-0 run and the Cavaliers wouldn’t look back. After they tied it, Washington wouldn’t score another point for four minutes. The closest they got was at the very end when Wall scored eight straight points in the final minute.
All Offense, No Defense
If you are a fan of offense and three-point shooting, this was the game you should’ve tuned into Wednesday night. Despite the loss, Washington would shoot 55.3 percent from the field and an even better 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from behind the arc. Washington’s ball movement was incredible tonight as they accumulated 31 assists on 42 made field goals. The Wizards’ problem came at the charity stripe where they went an underwhelming 17-of-27.
Cleveland finished the game shooting 53.9 percent from the field and 41.4 percent (12-of-29) from three. The biggest advantage the Cavaliers had was on the boards where they outrebounded Washington 44-to-33, including 13-to-5 on the offensive glass. The only real disadvantage Cleveland had was in fast break points, as the Wizards had the 22-to-5 advantage.
The Other Guys
It wasn’t only the aforementioned All-Stars that got the job done tonight. J.R. Smith was incredible for Cleveland as he finished the game with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 5-of-10 from behind the arc. Tristan Thompson was the only other Cavalier in double figures with 12 points. Iman Shumpert did a little bit of everything with five points, six rebounds and three assists.
The leading scorer for the Wizards came from Garrett Temple, who scored 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. All five starters reached double figures, as Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley had 12 points apiece. Gary Neal and Nene both came back from injury tonight and they didn’t disappoint. Neal finished with 13 points while Nene added seven points and four rebounds. Ramon Sessions had nine points and six assists.
Cleveland will try to win their sixth straight game on Friday when they travel to face the Minnesota Timberwolves. Washington will try and get this ship turned around as they host the Toronto Raptors on Friday.