Despite a much better start to the game, the Wizards failed to finish the Cavs off and fell, 87-84, on Wednesday night at Verizon Center.

After struggling to shoot the ball well early on in recent games, the Wizards came out of the gates on fire, making eight of their first twelve shots, while Nene and Emeka Okafor combined for 18 points in the first quarter on 8-9 shooting.

The second quarter saw Kyrie Irving catch fire as he scored 12 of his 20 first half points and led the Cavs to a two point halftime lead, 45-43.

Both teams would trade blows in the second half, none bigger than when the Wizards pulled ahead by nine with a 64-55 lead in the third quarter. But, the Cavs would rally back and take a late three point lead, 82-79, with less than three minutes to play in regulation. The Wizards made a mini-comeback of their own to tie the score at 82, but it was Tristan Thompson's three point play with 24 seconds left that would seal the Wizards fate. Garrett Temple and Jordan Crawford each had chances to tie the score, thanks to Kyrie Irving's struggles at the free throw line, but they were unsuccessful and the Wizards would drop another tough one at home.

Emeka Okafor and Martell Webster each finished with a double-double, (Okafor: 17 points, 10 rebounds, Webster: 12 points, 10 rebounds), Jordan Crawford tied for the team-high in points with 17, Nene added 16 points and seven boards, while Shelvin Mack finished with six points, six rebounds, and seven assists in his first game back with the team.

Next, the Wizards host the Orlando Magic on Friday night at Verizon Center (7pm).

Jordan Crawford
Points: 17
Rebounds: 3
Assists: 2

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Points: Crawford and Okafor - 17
Rebounds: Okafor and Webster - 10
Assists: Shelvin Mack - 7
Blocks: Emeka Okafor - 4
Steals: 4 Tied - 1

On what went wrong:

“Making winning plays down the stretch. We turned the ball over at crucial times, and then we won’t commit, all of us, won’t commit to playing defense. We just made too many critical mistakes because we are just not alert down the stretch.”

On Mack and Temple:

“They are going to be my point guards. We had pace, we had movement, ball didn’t stick, ball didn’t dribble. I liked that. They were thrust into a situation where I think they will become more and more comfortable. They are going to get more and more familiar with what we are doing and they’ll be fine. Shelvin (Mack) distributed seven assists. Overall, I don’t have a complaint with either one coming in on one day’s practice.”
On what it takes to win:

“When it comes down to winning time, it’s not necessarily always taking the ball and putting down buckets. Sometimes it comes off of the defensive end, sometimes it’s just taking care of the ball. And depending on the game it’s going to be different, but we’re taking the licks right now, we’re learning from them and we can only get better.”
On first five minutes:

“I feel like our offense was pretty good today. We just had a few mistakes coming down in winning time, but just coming out and playing hard and playing together as a team. We were just trying to move the ball, get some easy buckets in transition.”

On what can be taken away:

“Hustle. Some of the hustle plays, Daniel Gibson just catching and shooting. Everyone knows he’s a great shooter, so you can’t let him do his thing. Boxing out Tristan Thompson, you know he’s going to go hard to the glass every time.”
On his play:

“I felt good out there, I wish we could have came out with a win. I wish I could take back a turnover. I thought that three was going down, but we fought hard. We’ve got to come out with wins like that. It’s going to be a close game and the guys that are here have to be the guys that play. I felt comfortable.”

On his confidence:

“I’m a basketball player. This is what I do. They brought me here. Coach Wittman had the confidence to have me in the game at the end and Jordan kicked it out. It felt good. I thought it was going in, but it had a tough, tough roll. But I had the confidence and being in the D-League is something that helps you build your confidence, playing 35 or 40 minutes a game.”
On team's confidence:

“I’m very confident in our team, we got great looks, it’s just those looks in crunch time that we need and we got some great ones. We just weren’t able to knock them down.”

On offense:

“We were pushing the ball early and making great reads. Attacking the rim, allowing guys to draw in and finding open guys. That’s what you’re supposed to do; you’re supposed to make it easy. Offense isn’t supposed to be hard. A-B passes. We were doing that in the first half and in the second half we just didn’t make our open jump shots. We just have to make them.”