Cavaliers complete two game sweep of Wizards 114-90     
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Yesterday the Cleveland Cavaliers (19-15, 10-8 home) announced that they had bought out the contract of guard Ricky Rubio. The 12-year NBA vet then announced that he was retiring from the NBA. One thing that is sure is that Rubio impacted every organization he suited up for. His final organization was the Cavaliers, and his contributions will always be remembered by the Cavs organization and Cleveland fans as he helped the young group mature into the team, they presently are on Friday night when they played game two of their home series with the Washington Wizards at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

On Wednesday, the Cavaliers prevailed 140-101, but the game was close early on as the lead changed 14 times in the first quarter. The Cavs once again on Friday had no problem with the magicless Wizards 114-90.

Friday night was not the same as the Cavs jumped out to an early 13-5 lead with 9:12 left in the first quarter and once a Jarrett Allen was off to another nice start with four early points including a monster dunk over Wizards center Daniel Gafford. With 6:36 left on the first quarter clock the Cavs doubled the Wizards leading 22-11 on a three pointer by Donovan Mitchell. The lead grew to 14 at 29-15 with 4:15 left when Mitchell deposited his third three pointer in four first quarter attempts. With 2:59 left in the quarter the Wizards closed the gap to nine points at 29-20 when Bilal Coulibaly hit a three. When the quarter ended the Cavs were on top 36-26. Donovan Mitchell and the Wizards Tyus Jones led the game in scoring with 11 points each. Allen had eight for the Cavs and brought down three first quarter rebounds to lead everyone. The Cavs outrebounded the Wizards as a team 12-6. The Cavs which has been the story lately were dominating in the paint 16-6. The Cavs also took advantage of six Wizards turnovers resulting in 12 Cavs points.

The second quarter began with four players off the bench (Sam Merrill, Caris LeVert, Georges Niang, Tristan Thompson) for the Cavs along with Max Strus. Sam Merrill once again showed his toughness taking two charges right in the solar plexus by Corey Kispert and Deni Avdija who were charged with offensive fouls. Then with 8:28 left the Cavs began to pull away taking a 44-28 lead on a three by Niang. The Wizard’s bench boss Wes Unseld, Jr. then took a timeout as he saw the game slipping away. With 5:03 left in the first half Cavs head coach JB Bickerstaff went back to all five starters. The Cavs then took their largest lead of the game to that point at 50-33 with 4:16 left on a put back layup by Allen after a Mitchell miss. Allen at that point had 10 points and six rebounds after sitting for the first seven minutes of the second quarter. The Cavs’ lead dwindled to 51-40 after a three pointer from the top of the arc by Kyle Kuzma with :29 left in the half. Mitchell drew a foul at the other end and hit one of two free throws with :09.6 left to give the Cavs a 52-40 lead at the halftime break. With 24 minutes gone both Mitchell and Jones led all scorers with 14 points each. Niang had 11 for the Cavs as well as Allen who had 10 points and also brought down nine first half rebounds. The Cavs continued to dominate the paint outscoring the Wizards 22-14 in the opening half. The Cavs bench also outscored the Washington bench 19-12. Cleveland also cleaned the glass better than Washington in the first half, out rebounding Washington 25-17.

 The Cavs rebuilt their lead in the first 3:11 of the third period extending their lead to 62-44 when Mitchell dropped in a layup. With 5:00 left after Allen brought down his 12th rebound of the games the Cavs took the ball to the other end and Dean Wade drained a three from in front of the Cavs bench to give the Cavs a 71-50 lead. The Cavs then increased their lead to 24 points after Mitchell hit a three, his fifth of the night giving the Cavs a 74-50 lead with 4:02 left in the third quarter. The Cleveland lead continued to grow 80-54 when Merrill hit a jumper with 2:09 left in the period. As the third quarter buzzer sounded the Cavs led 84-59 as the Wizard’s Avdija battled for a rebound with Allen and put it in. Mitchell led all scorers after three with 26 points. Allen had 12 and led everyone with 12 rebounds through three quarters. Jones continued to pace the Wizards with 16 points.

The fourth quarter was once again a chance for the Cavs to play a lot of bench players for most of the quarter. They took advantage, even though Washington outscored the Cavs 31-30 in the final period. Merrill and Porter, Jr, led the Cavs respectively with eight and seven points in the final period. Merrill finished with 11. Thompson picked up his sixth personal foul and had to leave the game with 2:20 left. He finished with eight points, four rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes.

Mitchell led all scorers in the contest with 26 points including 5 of 8 from behind the three-point line. Niang finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Allen had his sixth consecutive double double with 12 points and 12 rebounds along with three assists. Jones led the Wizards with 16 points, all but two in the first half.

The Cavs dominated every phase of the game from rebounding to points off the bench. Once again, the Cavs shared the ball well with 31 assists in the game.

The Cavs will be back in action on Sunday afternoon at 1 pm when they welcome the San Antonio Spurs (5-29, 3-14 road) to RMFH. The Spurs lead the all-time series 66-37. But the Cavs do hold a slight edge in Cleveland (Richfield Coliseum, RMFH) 27-25. 
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​POSTED 01/05/2023 22:40
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Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell.                                      Photo by Tommy Shirer