Washington pulls away in third quarter for 10th win in last 11 contests.
The Washington Wizards’ 122–93 win versus the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night started with a minute and a half of misses for the visitors, a trend ended by Bradley Beal (19 points on 8-for-24 shooting) on a put-back. Russell Westbrook logged a quick two rebounds and two assists, but Cavs guard Darius Garland picked up where he left off on Sunday, draining an early three. An 8–2 Cleveland run forced Wizards Head Coach Scott Brooks to call a timeout at the 7:21 mark.
With Westbrook on the bench, Ish Smith came in and hit two nine-footers. In the final 1:30 of the first, Westbrook and Daniel Gafford (13 points off the bench) continued to display their newfound chemistry with a nifty pick-and-pop, which led to a Gafford two — the helper gave number four his 31st game with five-plus assists. Washington’s triple-double savant then ended the first with a tough and-one, plus the free throw to put his team up five. The Wizards closed the quarter on a 9–0 run and prevented the Cavs from scoring for the final 2:42.
Both sides were careless with the ball in the opening minutes of the quarter, and neither group shot the ball particularly well — 10 points were scored collectively through the first 2:45. Cleveland (21–42) regained the lead after going on a 9–0 run of their own in the middle portion of the quarter. Washington (29–34) went over three minutes without a field goal but only let the lead stretch to two, although it resulted from poor shooting from the hosts. A low-scoring second saw the halftime score favoring the Wizards, 58–52.
The score remained unaltered through the first 108 seconds. It wasn’t until Davis Bertans nailed a three that the scoreboard finally showed a change. That deep ball was the only field goal the Wizards made until 7:26. Even though they started cold, Washington woke up after Westbrook through an alley-oop to a fired-up Beal, who was 6/21 from the field before the lob. At 2:17, with a fast-break layup, Westbrook notched his 31st triple-double of the season (15, 12, 11), putting him four behind Oscar Robertson on the all-time list. A four-minute cold spell for the Cavs allowed the Wizards to push the lead to 23.
With a 23-point lead, Raul Neto (17 points) got a little fancy with the ball; he drove the baseline and sent a behind-the-back pass to Anthony Gill, who had 10 points in 12 minutes off the bench. The reserves were put in for the final six minutes, with the Wizards leading by 28. Neto logged his 21st game with 10-plus points, leading the offense in the final minutes. Washington improved to 23–4 when leading at halftime, and every available player for the away team got into the game. CollinSexton led the Cavs in scoring with 22, most of which came after Darius Garland left the game due to injury (12 points in 20 minutes).