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The Cavaliers were hungry on Friday night, but they ran into a team that was hungrier.
The Wizards capped their furious late season run on Friday night, clinching a spot in the Play-In Tournament with a 120-105 win over the Wine & Gold at Capital One Arena – pulling away in the second stanza after a back-and-forth first half.
Both teams shot 46 percent from the floor, but Washington held a massive advantage in bench scoring – 58-16 – and made 37 trips to the free throw line. The Cavaliers got Cedi Osman and Darius Garland (in a limited role) back, but were without Kevin Love, one game after his best offensive outing of the season.
The Wizards were without the league’s second-leading scorer, Bradley Beal, trying to nurse a left hamstring injury back to health before the postseason, but Russell Westbrook continued his prolific late-season surge – netting his 37th triple-double of the season with 21 points, a game-high 17 assists and 12 boards, adding three steals in the win.
While the Cavs bench struggled on Friday night, all five starters notched double-figure scoring.
Collin Sexton led both teams with 26 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including 2-of-4 from long-range and 8-of-8 from the stripe, adding four assists, but also six of Cleveland’s 17 turnovers.
Jarrett Allen doubled-up with 18 points and a game-high 14 boards, going 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the stripe, adding three helpers and blocked shot.
Isaac Okoro followed up with 17 points on 7-for-19 shooting, adding six boards and five assists while Cedi Osman returned from a three-game absence to finish with 16 points and a team-high six assists, going 7-for-10 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from deep.
Dean Wade, getting his fifth straight start, rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures – tallying 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting, adding nine boards and an assist.
Three starters – Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura and Westbrook – scored in double-figures for Washington, with four more players – Robin Lopez, Ish Smith, Anthony Gill and Daniel Gafford – doing so off the bench.
With the win, the Wizards – who’ve now won 14 of their last 19 – eliminated the Bulls from postseason contention.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
After a Cavs missed shot, Brodric Thomas doesn't give up on the play, fighting for and stripping the ball from a defender and caps the play with a dunk.
Through the first two quarters or Friday’s contest, there were nine ties and 11 lead-changes, with the Wizards taking a two-point edge into the locker room.
But one the Wizards jumped ahead early in the third, they barely looked back. Cleveland kept it close throughout the period, but Washington was able to close the quarter on an 11-1 run – taking a 15-point lead into the fourth.
Jarrett Allen’s floater with 5:21 to play in regulation got the Cavs back to within single-digits, but they’d get no closer the rest of the way.
By the Numbers - 15.5 … points per game that Isaac Okoro is averaging over his last 12 games, notching double-figures in 11 of them, with two 20-point outings and a 32-point effort in an overtime loss to the Suns.
Aside from a five-game stretch due to health and safety protocols in early January, Okoro – who’s shot 42 percent from the floor over his recent run – has started every game this season.
"He was extremely aggressive. He was assertive on the glass, he was out there protecting the rim. He found his spots in the middle of the floor, he got the ball in the post and made some nice post moves. It’s those things we talk about and we keep working on and adding, and then have a big summer with him and start to figure it out."
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.
The Cavaliers are down to their final game of the season – a Sunday evening duel in Brooklyn that may or may not feature the Nets’ Big Three and may or may not be for the top spot in the East, wrapping up the 2020-21 campaign.