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Wizards fall to Cavaliers, 113-108
The Wizards (20-34) were defeated 113-108 by the Cavaliers (15-40) on Friday night at Capital One Arena. Washington led for most of the night – by as many as 16 points in the second quarter – before Cleveland took its first lead with 6:29 left in the fourth quarter and held onto it for the remainder of the game.
“We started the game and the ball was flying around and we're making shots,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. “Then we couldn't make shots. Everything in the basket -- we were scoring pretty well around the paint -- we just couldn't make any shots outside the paint tonight. Those last three quarters: I don't think they were bad looks. I think some nights that's going to happen. In the fourth quarter -- actually the last three quarters -- the ball just didn't go in for us.”
Bradley Beal, who entered the game averaging 35.2 points per game over his last 11 games, led the Wizards with 26 points. He struggled from the field, shooting 9-28 (.321) overall and 1-10 (.100) from 3-point range. Beal now sits 33 points shy of tying Jeff Malone for second place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.
“He was missing good looks,” Brooks said. “Brad (Beal) is one of the best scorers in the league, and he's gonna have nights like this. He's getting good looks and clean looks and scoring everything around the paint. He, like all of our guys tonight, couldn't make anything outside the paint. We get  three [point attempts], I feel pretty confident, our guys can make a good chunk of those. That wasn't the case tonight."
Washington’s best basketball of the night came in the first quarter, when the team shot 51.6% from the field, 54.5% from 3-point range and outscored Cleveland 10-2 on second chance points. Rui Hachimura and Isaac Bonga scored the first 11 points for the Wizards and helped the team jump out to an early lead. Washington never trailed in the first quarter, leading by as many as nine points and totaling 41 in the game’s opening frame.
Hachimura finished with 17 points on 7-13 (.538) shooting and recorded seven rebounds and three assists.
The Wizards started the second quarter on a 7-0 run, capped by a put-back dunk by Troy Brown Jr. to extend the lead to 16. Washington led by double digits for most of the second quarter before Cleveland’s Cedi Osman hit a three to spark an 8-2 run over the final 1:06 of the first half. The Cavaliers entered the halftime break down just five.
Hachimura got the scoring started in the second half on a put-back layup off his own miss, giving the Wizards a seven-point advantage. Just over four minutes later, Bradley Beal hammered home a highlight-reel dunk over Cleveland’s Andre Drummond – his first of two dunks in a one-minute span.
In case you were wondering, Bradley Beal CAN fly!pic.twitter.com/GlrbTaKMjg— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) February 22, 2020
Those plays, however, were outliers in a quarter dominated by defense. After Washington scored 41 points in the first quarter, the teams combined for 41 in the third, shooting 37.7% from the field and 8.3% from 3-point range. Cleveland managed just 16 field goal attempts and turned the ball over eight times against the Wizards’ defense.
With 9:08 left in the fourth quarter, Brown Jr. hit a 3-pointer that put the Wizards up eight. Cleveland erased that lead in just over two minutes, tying the game on an alley-oop dunk from Darius Garland to Tristan Thompson. The Cavaliers took their first lead shortly thereafter and held onto it for the game’s remaining six minutes.
The Wizards’ bench featured five players scoring at least eight points and combined for 50 points as a whole. Brown Jr. led all Washington reserves with 11 points.
Next up, the Wizards face a road-home back-to-back beginning Sunday night against the Bulls (19-37) at 7:00 P.M. before hosting the Bucks (47-8) Monday night at 7:00 P.M. at Capital One Arena.