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Cavs end Wizards' hot streak: Five takeaways


Cavs end Wizards' hot streak: Five takeaways

Even though Alan Anderson didn't play Friday night, he knew what it would take for the Wizards to have a chance to win their season-high fifth game in a row and get over .500 for the first time since Nov. 24.

"Our start and our finish," Anderson said about the key to beating the Cleveland Cavaliers. "We know our defense creates our offense. Got to limit our turnovers and crash the boards. They hit the boards hard. We do that we got a good chance to win"

The Wizards (30-31), who beat Cleveland 113-99 last weekend and led by as many as 30 in that game, rebounded on even terms (47-47)  but were otherwise dominated from start to finish in a 108-83 loss.

John Wall (17 points, seven assists, eight rebounds) was the only player who had any sort of rhythm. Markieff Morris (13 points), Ramon Sessions (12 points), Bradley Beal (11 points) and Marcin Gortat (10 points, nine rebounds, three blocks) were the only other double-figure scorers.

Cleveland had four players in double-figure scoring by halftime. In the end, Kyrie Irving (21 points, eight assists) was followed by LeBron James (19 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, three steals), Timofey Mozgov (14 points), Matthew Dellavedova (12 points), J.R. Smith (10 points) and Tristan Thompson (10 points, seven rebounds).

The season series ends tied at 2 with each team going 1-1 on their home floor.

Saturday, the Wizards play the Indiana Pacers and have a chance to get back to .500. With the season series is tied at 1, the winner has the tiebreaker edge which is crucial for postseason positioning.

  • Turnovers did them in from the beginning. The Wizards had 10 in the first half, four committed by Beal alone, that put Cleveland in transition and got them easy baskets in the paint. James' first two field goals came from steals of passes from Beal that led to dunks that started the game going downhill. Conversely, the Wizards only forced two which kept Wall out of the open court and made it more difficult for him to create offense for others. 

  • Beal started the third quarter over Garrett Temple (0 points, 0 assists, 0 rebounds in 27 minutes) with the Wizards needing an offensive explosion to turn the tide. It didn't work. In his previous four games, Temple has scored 0, 2, 7 and 2. Could Beal get the start Saturday? Perhaps. But he's still on a minutes restriction and it's the second game of a back-to-back. He played 28 minutes and was just 4 of 12 shooting. When Temple is at his best, the Wizards are able to turnover the opponent and get out in transition. The Cavs only had nine giveaways.

  • After a season-high 18 points in the last game, Anderson was held out because of rest. Not having him because of his size and more physical play on the perimeter against a team with James hurt. The Cavs didn't have Kevin Love (rest) but defensively he has proven to be a bad matchup as Wall and Beal repeatedly put him in pick-and-rolls.

  • Wall was fouled by Dellavedova on a drive and came down awkwardly. He grabbed his left ankle but was able to leave the court during the timeout and return. Wall has been dealing with a sore ankle since the fourth game of the regular season when he hurt himself in a home win over the San Antonio Spurs. He only played 28 minutes.

  • The Wizards couldn't take full advantage of their mismatches with Morris and Otto Porter in the post. They were able to get switches with Irving and Iman Shumpert taking on the defensive assignments but the production wasn't there. Porter had another performance where it was hard to recall that he was even on the court (1 of 5 shooting, four points, 28 minutes). They also had issues matching up with James when he moved to power forward and ran 1-4 pick-and-rolls. It produced pass backs to the arc for open three-point shots for Cleveland (12 of 27, 44.4%). The bad defense carried over to the Wizards' offense (14 assists, 16 turnovers) as the ball rarely moved side to side which is when the Wizards are at their best. The Cavs did exactly that to them.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:


2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:


4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:



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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 122-105 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bad matchup: Despite their poor record, there is something about this Charlotte Hornets team that gives the Wizards trouble. The Wizards lost to the Hornets for the third time in three tries this season on Friday night and, aside from a push in the third quarter, were never really in it.

All in all, it was a dud of a game for the Wizards who were probably due for one. They had won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall got injured. They were also coming off a huge road win the night before in Cleveland, a game that started an hour later than usual.

It was a tough turnaround and the Wizards sure looked like it. It was evident in their defense and unforced errors. They did, however, have a decent shooting night. They shot 49.4 percent from the field 16-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Wizards' second unit didn't provide a lift outside of Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points). Mike Scott, one of their best bench options, was held scoreless.


Ugly first half: The Wizards only trailed by 12 points at halftime, but that score was skewed by a five-point push in the final seconds. The Hornets dominated for much of the first two quarters and did so by hitting threes and forcing turnovers. Those mistakes dug the Wizards a hole they never recovered from.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the first half, the same amount they had in their entire game the night before. Limiting mistakes was a big reason they beat the Cavaliers, yet the script was flipped by Charlotte.

The Hornets capitalized with 23 points off those 10 first-half turnovers. The Wizards had 14 giveaways for the games that led to 28 total points. 

Charlotte was 7-for-11 from three at one point in the first half and finished 17-for-39 (43.6%) for the game. That is very uncharacteristic for the Wizards, who entered the night second in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage.

Again, though, the first half ended well as Oubre and Bradley Beal gave the Wizards a jolt in the final seconds:


Bad defense: The Wizards have played some great defense in recent weeks, but they just didn't have it on Friday night. Most surprising were the guys that hurt them most.

Dwight Howard was limited to 11 points and six rebounds and Kemba Walker didn't score his first points until the final minute of the first half. But others like Frank Kaminsky (23 points), Marvin Williams (15 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14 points) got pretty much anything they wanted.

For Walker, it was a tale of two halves. He was held in check by Tomas Satoransky in the first half, but broke out in the third quarter and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Maybe it was tired legs on the Wizards' part, but Walker just kept dribbling until he got space and once he did, he knocked down shots.

Much like Kyle Lowry did a few weeks ago, Walker made adjustments to find success against Satoransky. We haven't seen that happen much since Wall went out, but those two guys have given him some trouble. Both guys are considerably smaller than Satoransky and very quick. Maybe there's something to that.

Add it all up and this was one of the worst defensive games of the season for the Wizards. They allowed their most points in a game since Jan. 17 against, you guessed it, the Hornets. Only three times this year have they given up more than what they allowed on Friday.

No Sessions: The Wizards did not debut their newest player on Friday night, which was probably to be expected given Ramon Sessions has not had any practice time yet. That is part of why he didn't play, but it's also another indication that he is unlikely to play much with the Wizards. Sessions is on a 10-day contract and is not expected to supplant either Satoransky or Tim Frazier at point guard. Frazier would seem to be the guy in danger of losing minutes, but it was business as usual for him against the Hornets.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before returning to action at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.