The Cavaliers began life without backup point guard Ricky Rubio against the Wizards Thursday night. Rubio will miss the rest of the season after tearing his left ACL Tuesday against the Pelicans.
Cleveland was still without Darius Garland and Cedi Osman due to health and safety protocols, and they were without Jarrett Allen(Return To Competition Reconditioning). However, they did get Lamar Stevens and Dylan Windler back after being away from the team because of health and safety protocols.
Washington had some health and safety protocols issues themselves, including starting point guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Cavaliers trailed 31-30 after the first quarter, but things fell apart at the end of the second quarter and the third as Washington routed Cleveland 110-93 at Capital One Arena.
Cleveland(20-15) has lost two straight, while Washington(18-17) snapped their two-game losing streak.
Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to Washington:
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-Rookie Evan Mobley scored 14(highest scoring first quarter of his career) of his 21 points in the first quarter to go along with five rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Mobley had his second straight 20-plus point game.
-Kevin Love returned to the starting lineup and had his third straight 20-plus point game. He had 11 of his season-high tying 24 points in the first quarter, including three threes(finished 4/10 3PT FG). Love also added 11 rebounds to record his fifth double-double of the season. Love and Mobley scored 25 of Cleveland’s 30 first-quarter points.
The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:
Three-point Shooting: Cleveland was 4/9 from downtown in the first quarter, but they were 4/19 the rest of the way from three-point range Thursday night. In the last two games, both losses, the Cavaliers shot a combined 9/48(19%) from three after the first quarter.
Defense: The Cavaliers struggled on the defensive end. Washington shot 50% from the floor, including 68 points in the paint.
End of the Second Quarter: With just under four minutes left in the first half, the game was tied at 46, but Washington finished the half on a 12-5 run to take a 58-51 lead at the break, and the Wizards took that momentum into the third.
Third Quarter: Washington dominated the third as they shot (14/22)64% from the floor. The Wizards led by as many as 2o points in the quarter, and Cleveland never threatened from there as the Wizards outscored the Cavaliers 33-21 in the third.
-Kevin Pangos got his first NBA start Thursday, and he wasn’t very good. Pangos had two points as he shot 1/8 from the field, including 0/3 from downtown. He did have six assists, but he struggled against the Wizards.
Without Garland and Rubio, Cleveland did not get much from the point guard position and did not get much out of any player not named Love or Mobley, but help could be on the way for the Cavs. According to reports, Cleveland is close to acquiring two-time NBA champion and four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo from the Lakers. While Rondo is not Rubio at this point, the 35-year-old is better than what they have at the backup point guard spot.
Cleveland begins a three-game homestand Friday night against the Atlanta Hawks.
Best of the Rest:
-After missing three games due to health and safety protocols, Bradley Beal returned and led the Wizards with a game-high 29 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds; Kyle Kuzma had 25 points and 10 rebounds.
-Lauri Markkanen had 11 points, eight rebounds, and four assists; Isaac Okoro added 11 points for the Cavs.