Cavs Pull Away from Wizards
Wrap-Up – Coach Byron Scott didn’t wait for the Cavaliers to come out sluggish in the third quarter; he pulled his starters for being sluggish in the first quarter. His shorthanded squad got the message – opening the second quarter on 15-4 run, outscoring Washington by 30 in the middle two periods and holding on down the stretch for the 95-90 win on Tuesday at The Q.
Playing without All-Star Kyrie Irving, who suffered a left shoulder injury two nights ago in Toronto, the Cavaliers had six players in double-figures – led by rookie Dion Waiters who led Cleveland with 20 points, going 5-of-14 from the floor and 10-of-14 from the stripe. Waiters added six boards, three helpers and a steal while committing just a single turnover in 29 minutes of action.
Tristan Thompson doubled-up for this fourth straight game – finishing with 13 points and a game-high 14 boards. Alonzo Gee finished with 17 points and Shaun Livingston, starting in place of Irving, went 6-of-9 from the floor for 12 points and a team-high six assists. Off the bench, Wayne Ellington notched a dozen points and C.J. Miles added 10.
On the night, Cleveland’s bench outscored Washington’s – 29-11.
Turning Point – It’s rare that the turning point of a 48-minute basketball game takes place two minutes in. But that was the case on Tuesday, as Byron Scott yanked his starters with 9:53 to play in the first quarter and the Cavs trailing, 11-0. The Cavs still finished the first period down, 33-20. But they proceeded to outscore Washington, 30-16 in the second quarter and 26-16 in the third. The Wine and Gold were sloppy in the game’s final three minutes, but they had built up enough of an edge to weather Washington’s late push.
Game Ball – Shaun Livingston – The veteran guard got a bit of revenge against the team that released him earlier this season, playing an efficient floor game and settling the squad down after Coach Scott benched four of his fellow starters. Livingston added a steal and a blocked shot to his 12-point, 6-assist effort despite battling foul trouble (and John Wall) all night.
By the Numbers – .833 … Cavaliers’ winning percentage (10-2) against the Wizards in their last 12 meetings at Quicken Loans Arena. The Wine and Gold swept Washington (3-0) this season, are now 10-4 in their last 14 games against Eastern Conference clubs, including 6-1 against those foes at The Q.
Quotable – Tristan Thompson, on Coach Scott pulling the starters early in the contest …
”Coach Scott did the right thing. We talked about it against Toronto, how we have to be men and come out and fight. The first unit in the first few minutes came out with no intensity and no life. Coach did a great thing by pulling us out and it kind of reminded me of when I was playing in college; you don’t play hard, coach sits you out.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers have nine home games and nine on the road remaining. They hit the road this week, heading to Dallas for a Friday night meeting with the Mavericks before a trip to San Antonio for a Saturday night matchup with the Spurs. Next week, the Wine and Gold welcome some beasts from the East – the Pacers on Tuesday and Miami Heat on Thursday.