John Wall said earlier in the week that he needed to play better for the Wizards to start winning again. Wall backed up his words with his best game of the season to the tune of 35 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, and 5 steals as the Wizards hand the Cavs their first home loss of the season, 97-85.
Marcin Gortat also had a double-double scoring 15 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Bradley Beal chipped in with 18.
The Wizards started this game on a 10-0 run on 5-6 shooting and would hold the lead for the entire 48 minutes. Wall was a man on a mission and you could tell from the get go. He was driving to the hole, knocking down jumpers, and was engaged on the defensive end as he recorded four steals in the first quarter to go along with four first quarter blocks from Gortat as the Wizards led 27-24.
The Cavs started Matthew Dellavedova on Wall to start the second quarter which was not a good idea. Wall went straight to the post and spun off of Delly for the easy layup as Wall tends to with that mismatch.
LeBron James tried to put an end to this surprising start as he streaked down the lane and threw down a dunk that shook the earth and cut the Wizards lead to four, 34-30.
Garrett Temple provided some nice energy off the bench and hit some timely buckets as the Wizards led, 54-43 at halftime.
The Wizards clamped down on defense to start the third quarter turning the Cavs over on their first three possessions and storming out to an 8-0 run to start the period. The Wizards stretched the lead to 60-43 just two minutes into the quarter and you could hear the boo birds coming from the Cleveland faithful (probably still mad about that Browns game).
Wall and Gortat were on the same page tonight and connected on their pick-and-roll plays in the third, very reminiscent of last season. Also reminiscent of last year, Wall led a transition break to find Bradley Beal in the corner for a spot up three pointer as the lead ballooned to 20.
As expected, the Cavs answered with a 10-2 run of their own on some key three pointers from Matthew Dellavedova. Even so, the Wizards still led 80-67 through three.
The Wizards were able to stretch the lead back to 19 when Beal found Wall for three early in the fourth quarter. Once again, the Cavs had one final push in them as they used a 10-3 run late in the quarter to cut the Wizards lead to 10, 95-85. The Cavs wouldn’t get any closer as the Wizards hand the Cavs their first home loss of the season, 97-85.
Notes: The Wizards took care of the rock tonight committing just 12 turnovers, and only four in the first half. The Wizards on the other hand, turned the Cavs over 18 times turning that into 25 points.
The late game execution (or lack thereof) made things a little closer than it had to be. The Wizards went an ice cold 1-8 from the field to end the game but luckily, the Cavs weren’t hitting shots either. The Wizards also committed a few turnovers late, which they were also fortunate the Cavs didn’t turn into points on the other end.
The Wizards welcome the Lakers and Kobe’s farewell tour to town tomorrow night.