Alonzo Gee netted 11 points and five boards in Saturday night's loss.
Ned Dishman (NBAE/Getty Images)
Riding a four-game losing streak, Coach Byron Scott needed to jumpstart the Cavaliers, and did so with a pair of lineup changes. The changes produced the team’s best first quarter of the season. Their problems came in the fourth.
Tied at 78-apiece after three quarters, the Wizards began the fourth with a 14-6 run, fending off a late Cavaliers’ rally and taking the 101-98 win. The loss marked the Wine and Gold’s fifth straight defeat.
The Cavaliers trailed by10 – 96-86 – with 3:44 to play, but Anthony Parker canned a three-pointer and Kyrie Irving scored eight of his 20 points in the closing minutes.
John Wall split a pair of free throws with 5.8 to play, keeping it a one-possession game, but Parker’s game-tying attempt drew back iron as time expired.
Alonzo Gee took over for Omri Casspi at small forward and Ryan Hollins, for Semih Erden in the pivot, but the player who powered the Wine and Gold on Saturday was their most consistent starter, Antawn Jamison, who returned to D.C. with a vengeance, notching a team-high 29 points.
Jamison, who spent much of his 13-year career in the nation’s capital, went 11-for-24 from the floor, adding nine boards, five assists, four steals and a pair of blocked shots. He notched 15 of his 29 in the first quarter, as the Cavaliers had their best first period of the season, scoring 33 points to open the affair.
"I felt our first unit guys got us off to a decent start," said Coach Scott. "Then it was hard because our second unit really couldn't get any type of rhythm going offensively.To counter that, the Wizards' second unit I felt was terrific and it ultimately led to their victory tonight."
Gee and Hollins were both impressive in their starts. Hollins finished with 15 points and seven boards – going 5-for-7 from the floor and 5-of-9 from the stripe. Gee added 11 points, five boards and a pair of assists.
Irving was 8-of-14 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from long-distance, for his 20 points. His backup, Ramon Sessions, pitched in with 11 points off the bench, but the Cavaliers reserves added just five more combined points.
The Wizards backcourt of John Wall and Jordan Crawford was deadly on Saturday night. Crawford led all scorers with 31 points and Wall followed up with 24 of his own.
Cleveland came into Saturday’s game tops in the league in fastbreak points allowed, but the Wizards managed to ring up 23 points in transition.
"After losing the way we lost (Friday) night, we did a great job of starting the game but you would think in the second half there would have been a sense of urgency to start the fourth quarter," said Jamison. "I don't know if it's getting tired or whatever, but we really need to come up with a sense of urgency to get anywhere."
The Cavaliers return home and will face three tough Western Conference foes. The Jazz come to Cleveland for a Monday night meeting and the Wine and Gold travel to Denver and Oklahoma City to round out the week.
- Antawn Jamison made his first appearance (in uniform) back to the Verizon Center, where he played 421 career games with the Wizards. Jamison was injured in his previous two appearances as a Cavalier. He averaged 21.5 ppg against his current team as a member of the Wizards.
- Alonzo Gee also made his return to Washington, although he only played in 11 games with the Wizards back in 2009-10.
- Gee got his fourth start of the season on Saturday. Last year, he started 34 games with Cleveland, including the team’s last 23. Hollins made his first start of the season. He was in the opening lineup 16 times last year, including 12 of Cleveland’s last 13.