It appeared on Wednesday night that the Cleveland Cavaliers(7-5) were going to get their fifth straight win as they had a 10-point lead with just under 11 minutes left against the visiting Washington Wizards(8-5).
Cleveland would take a nine-point lead with just over six minutes to go. However, Washington would close the game on a 19-7 run and took the lead for good when Kyle Kuzma hit a corner three with 11.4 seconds. Washington would hold on to defeat the Cavs 97-94 to snap Cleveland’s four-game winning streak.
Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of Cleveland’s loss to Washington:
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-Ricky Rubio led the way for Cleveland with 20 points, five assists, five rebounds, and two steals in 28 minutes off the bench. This is the second straight game where Rubio, who was getting serenaded with MVP chants, led the team in points and assists.
-Evan Mobley continues to pile up the numbers. He had 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and a block. After 12 games, Mobley is second among rookies in points(15.3), rebounds(7.9), and first in blocks(1.3) per contest.
-Darius Garland had 19 points and four assists. He also made a team-high three three-point shots on Wednesday night.
Not so Great for the Cavaliers:
Fourth Quarter: Cleveland had a six-point lead entering the fourth, but Washington would outscore the Cavs 29-20 in the final period. Cleveland shot 1/10 three-point range in the quarter. In addition, Washington shot 57% from the field, including 5/11 from three-point range.
Leaving Kuzma open for three: Kuzma, who scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth, was hot as he was 4/5 from three-point range in the quarter, and with the Cavs leading 93-89 with 30.4 seconds, Kuzma hit a three to cut it to one.
Rubio would make one of two free throws to give Cleveland a 94-92 lead. With the Wizards trailing by two, Kuzma would get open and knocked down a three in the corner. Cleveland, who had a foul to give, tried to foul Bradley Beal, but the officials did not call it, and Kuzma was able to get free.
“We had a foul to give, and we fouled Bradley Beal, and they missed the call,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said postgame. “We have to learn in this situation; the three is what kills you.”
–Darius Garland’s final shot: Cleveland had one last chance to win, and with the Cavs trailing by one, Garland launched a 25-foot three with 04.3 seconds. It was not a bad shot, but the third-year guard should have worked to get a better shot.
“When it left my hands, I thought it was good,” Garland said. “All my shots were like that. But that one felt really good, just didn’t go in.”
This was a game the Cavaliers should have won, but the Wizards were able to execute better down the stretch. Washington is the more experienced team, and it showed in this one. Cleveland is without many of their key pieces(Sexton, Love, and Markkanen), but they continue to battle to their credit.
Cleveland continues their four-game homestand on Friday against the Pistons.
Best of the Rest:
-Montrezl Harrell led Washington with 24 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Cleveland did a decent job on Wizards star Bradley Beal, who had only 13 points on 4/19 shooting from the field.
-Cavs Jarrett Allen had his fifth consecutive double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.