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Wizards use hot start to bury Cavs, 119-95
There’s nothing like a long homestand to cure some early-season woes, and the Wizards took another step towards getting back on track Wednesday night. The Cavaliers came to town on the second night of a back-to-back, and Washington jumped all over the struggling Cleveland squad (2-12), speeding away with a wire-to-wire 119-95 victory. It was the Wizards’ third straight win, improving their record to 5-9.
Just about everyone got in on the fun for Washington on the night, but Otto Porter Jr. (15 points on the night), Bradley Beal (team-high 20), and Markieff Morris (11) got the party started. The trio combined for 27 points in the opening frame to help the Wizards to a 12-point lead after one. With three 3-pointers on the night, Beal became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 900 career triples.
From there, the lead quickly ballooned to 27 on a massive 20-2 run to start the second quarter. Eight Wizards scored at least a field goal in the second, with Jeff Green’s six points leading the way. John Wall (eight points and nine assists in just 21 minutes on the night) and Ian Mahinmi (nine points, seven rebounds) also added five points in the period to widen Washington’s lead to 21 points at the break with a season-high 73 points by halftime. Mahinmi also hit his first career 3-pointer in the second.
In the second half, Cleveland whittled its deficit down to as low as 13 points, but the Wizards responded with a 14-3 run to put their lead back over 20 and shut the door on any potential comeback from the shorthanded Cavs. Austin Rivers led the second unit with 12 points on the night, while four others scored at least eight points in a game that featured heavy bench minutes. For head coach Scott Brooks, all of the team's success offensively came back to being active on the other end of the floor.
”It's probably our highest deflection game on top of all of our steals and creating turnovers, said Brooks. “But it was a good defensive game for us. We kept a team under 100. It was a good way to finish the game also when you have a 20-point lead. You want to continue to play the right way, and I thought our guys did.”
While the Wizards still didn’t shoot the ball from the perimeter the way they’d like to (13-for-40, 32.5%), they compensated by continuing to play hard on the defensive end and attacking the rim relentlessly. Washington still shot nearly 48% from the field, and dominated in second-chance points (22-6) and points in the paint (52-34). The Wizards also capitalized on their effort defensively, turning 24 Cleveland turnovers into 29 points on the other end. Overall, there was plenty to build on as they head into the midpoint of a five-game stay at home.
”It’s basically just putting a complete game together,” said Bradley Beal. “For the most part, we played pretty well. We rebounded well, defended well for the most part – everything can always get better, though. We just continue to let our offense take care of itself by moving the ball. Overall, it was a great win.”
Washington’s homestand continues Friday night when it debuts its City Edition uniform against Brooklyn. Tip-off against the Nets is set for 7:00 p.m.