Cavaliers dominate Wizards 140-101
BY TIM SHIRER
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - The injury riddled Cleveland Cavaliers (18-15, 9-8 home) entered Wednesday night’s game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse against the struggling Washington Wizards (6-26, 3-15 away) who have lost 7 of their last 10 games, on a two game losing streak of their own.
Coming into Wednesday’s night game the Wizards hold a slight edge in the all-time series 118-113. But the Cavs do lead in Cleveland (Cleveland Arena, Richfield Coliseum, RMFH) 68-47. This was the first meeting between the two clubs this season. Last season the Cavs swept the three games. Cleveland took game one this season blowing out the Wizards 140-101.
Early on the two teams traded baskets. The Cavs took a 10-9 lead with 9:08 left in the first quarter on a step back jumper by Donovan Mitchell. After the Wizards countered with a three Mitchell hit another three giving the Cavs a 13-12 lead with 8:17 left. The lead changed 14 times in the first 2:43. Finally, at the 2:42 mark the Cavs began to build a lead and with 1:53 left Allen got the rebound and put in a layup for his fifth and sixth points of the game to give the Cavs a 34-28 edge. When the final buzzer sounded the Cavs lead was 34-31. Max Strus led all scorers with 11 points in the first 12 minutes. Kyle Kuzma led the Wizards with 10 first quarter points. The Cavs edged the Wizards on the glass with 10 rebounds while Washington managed to pull down nine. The Cavs were 6 of 9 from three point range.
The Cavs took their largest lead of the game to that point 41-33 with 10:05 left in the second quarter on a three by Sam Merrill. The Wizard however were not going away and closed to within two points at 53-51 with 2:47 left on a jumper by Tyus Jones. But the Cavs then went on a 14-4 run to take a 67-55 lead into the locker room. Strus led all scorers in the first half with 21 points, including five of five from three point range. Kuzma paced the Wizards with 14 points in the first 24 minutes. The Cavs continued to win the battle of the boards 25-20. Points in the paint were close 28-26 in favor of Cleveland and points off the bench was also close as the Cavs were leading 17-14.
Early in the third period the Cavs extended the lead to 71-57 with 10:55 left when Mitchell hit a jumper. On their next possession the Wizards took a timeout so Wizards coach Wes Unseld, Jr. could calm his troops. With 9:09 left the Cavs took their biggest lead of the night to that point when Mitchell was fouled by Deni Avdija and hit both free throws to give the Cavs a 75-59 lead. The Cavs extended their lead to 19 at 82-63 with on two more free throws by Mitchell with 6:48 left in the quarter. The wizards then went on a 8-0 run over the next 1:15 to cut the Cavs lead to 82-71 courtesy of a pair of three’s by Mike Muscala and Jones. Allen ended the run, getting a rebound passing it to Caris LeVert who found Allen under the basket with 5:04 left to extend the Cavs lead to 84-71. The Cavs run extended to 9-0 when LeVert dropped in a layup with 3:08 left. The Wizard took a timeout. Things did not change after the timeout as the Cavs run continued and with :25 left in the quarter the Cavs took a 101-75 on a three by Georges Niang. Strus led all scorers with 24 points through three quarters. Mitchell had 22. Kuzma was pacing the Wizards with 16 points, Daniel Gafford had 12. The Cavs were dominating the boards 43-29.
The fourth quarter became garbage time quickly and the Cavs bench took advantage as they ran up the score, outscoring the Wizards 39-26 in the final period. The Cavs bench racked up 66 points in the blow out win.
Strus ended up leading all scorers with 24 point even though he played only 28 minutes. Mitchell finished with 22 points and LeVert drained 21 points off the bench. Jarrett Allen had another great game in the middle with 17 points and 19 rebounds and seven assists. Since the injury to Evan Mobley Allen has stepped up and took charge in the middle for Cleveland. Kuzma led the Wizards with 16 points.
The Cavs dominated every phase of the game. The Cavs owned the glass winning that battle 62-36. Bickerstaff said after the game, “if you can dominate the boards and dominate the paint, you’re typically going to win the game.” The Cavs did both as they also dominated the paint outscoring Washington 68-52. The Cavs shared the ball well again as they racked up 37 assists in the blow out. Finally, they shot 20 of 42 (47.6%) from three point range a nice departure from the last two games where they shot a combined 17 of 73 (23.2%).
The Cavs will be in action next when they play game two of the series at RMFH against Washington on Friday night at 7:30 pm.
POSTED 0/03/2023 21:45