Final Dime: Wizards 115, Cavaliers 107
Alonzo Gee skies for two of his 12 points in Friday night's loss in Washington.
Blatche was a one-man wrecking crew in the nation’s capital, taking advantage of an already-shorthanded Cavaliers frontline to the tune of 16 offensive rebounds and a career-high 36 points, as the Wizards snuffed a late Cavs comeback – handing Cleveland the 115-107 loss on Friday night in the nation’s capital.
Blatche returned to the Wizards lineup two games ago, and the combination of he and JeVale McGee spelled doom for a Cleveland frontline that was without Samardo Samuels – not to mention Antawn Jamison, Semih Erden and Anderson Varejao.
"You can’t win if you don’t come with a little bit more of a toughness and a presence in that paint area," lamented Coach Byron Scott. "You can’t win. Blatche and McGee dominated our guys. That’s something you just can’t account for."
The Cavaliers still managed six players in double-figures and were shooting over 50 percent from the floor through most of the game. And once again, they were led by Ramon Sessions who, in two games off Byron Scott’s bench, has led the squad in scoring each game.
Sessions was 9-for-16 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the stripe for 26 points.
Sessions scored 14 of his 26 in the second half, including a fastbreak dunk with 4:35 remaining that cut a 12-point Washington lead to just four, 100-96. But rookie Jamal Crawford canned a short jumper on the Wizards’ next possession to key a 9-3 run that put Washington’s win on ice.
J.J. Hickson followed up with 21 points and a game-high 10 boards, going 6-for-10 from the floor and 9-of-12 from the line.
Luke Harangody came off Cleveland’s bench to tally 12 points, eight boards a pair of assists, despite being outsized on the block. Alonzo Gee and Ryan Hollins added a dozen points apiece. Baron Davis doubled-up with 10 points and a team-high 11 assists.
Overall, the Wizards out-rebounded the Cavaliers, 56-38, including a 27-12 advantage on the offensive glass. The Wine and Gold turned the ball over just nine times and shot 81 percent from the stripe, which kept them in the ballgame despite the frontcourt disparity.
But the combination of Blatche and McGee – who teamed for 61 points, 27 boards and five blocked shots – was too much for the Cavaliers on Friday night.
"I’ve been playing against bigger guys for the past two years in the five position," said Hickson. "That’s no excuse whatsoever. It’s solely on me and not boxing out. I’ll be the first to admit I’m the reason why we lost tonight."
The Cavaliers will head to the Big Apple for a Sunday night showdown with Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks – who have yet to top the Wine and Gold in three meetings this season.
2. J.J. Hickson has topped the 20-point plateau in four of his last five games and has notched a double-double in five of his last six.
3. Samardo Samuels' wrist is better, but still not good enough to go against Washington. Samuels desperately wants another shot at Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks as is convinced he’ll be ready for Sunday night. His coach is still unsure.
“One thing he couldn’t do was shoot the ball from 15 feet; and if he can’t do that, he can’t play,” said Byron Scott. “It looks a whole lot better, the swelling’s gone down tremendously, but he still can’t play right now.”
4. Alonzo Gee has now notched double-figures in four of his last six outings – averaging 9.3 points and 4.6 boards over that span.
5. Nevada’s not known as a basketball power, but two of its alumni – Ramon Sessions and JeVale McGee – went toe-to-toe on Friday night. Sessions was a junior when McGee was just a freshman in Reno.
“(McGee) was raw and athletic and had the potential to be good,” praised Sessions. “He’s growing, he’s got to get tougher – he knows that – but he’s developing into one of the best centers in the league.”
6. The Cavaliers caught a bit of a break on Friday, with John Wall serving a suspension after taking a swing at Zydrunas Ilgauskas two nights earlier. Nick Young – who dropped 31 points on Cleveland in February – was also sidelined on Friday.
7. Antawn Jamison, making his return to Washington – where he played for five-and-a-half seasons – talked about his sometimes tough experiences of losing with both clubs.
“I hate to say I'm used to it, but to have expectations and come up short … it's like I've been there done it,” said Jamison. “It's not breaking me. You still have to make it fun. You still have to enjoy it. It's a lot colder and there's a lot more snowy days up (in Cleveland), but you've still got to enjoy what you do and treat it like that.”
8. T.G.I.F. definitely applies to the Wine and Gold. Even with Friday’s loss in Washington, the Cavaliers are still 5-11 heading into the weekend. The mixed news moving forward is: They’re 0-11 on Sundays, but haven’t lost to their next Sunday opponent, the Knicks, all year.
9. No need to wonder how Ramon Sessions would respond to moving to reserve role. The fourth-year guard is averaging 25.0 ppg in two games since Baron Davis took over as a starter.
10. There was an unusually large Cavs contingent at the Verizon Center on Friday night, featuring two groups of shirtless guys with “C-A-V-S” spelled across their chests.
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.