The Washington Wizards lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-99 on Sunday night. Here's analysis of what went down...
Even depleted, Cavs are a problem: Both teams entered this game without at least one of their best players due to injury, as Otto Porter sat out for the Wizards with a hip contusion. The Cavs, though, were missing Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and despite LeBron James shooting a low percentage, they still had enough to top the Wizards for the second time this season.
It was a testament to Cleveland's depth and it came in the second of a back-to-back set, as the Cavs beat the Jazz in Cleveland on Saturday night.
It's still early in the season, but the Wizards were reminded on Sunday how they still have work to do to catch the Cavs. They are close enough to give Cleveland a worthy challenge, but the Cavs can win in so many ways.
A different LeBron: The Wizards had no answer for LeBron in the first matchup between these teams this season. Back on Nov. 3, he pummeled them for 57 points, the second-most in his illustrious career. LeBron shot an insane 23-for-34 from the field.
This time the Wizards had much better luck despte employing a similar defensive strategy. In the first matchup, they guarded him one-on-one and LeBron feasted off of fadeaway midrange jumpers. In this game those just weren't falling for him.
Before the game head coach Scott Brooks suggested the Wizards would guard him similarly, noting they will usually live with long twos, knowing the percentages. It worked this time.
To be fair, it seemed like a relatively off-night in general for LeBron scoring-wise, as he finished with 20 and had just 13 points after three quarters. He shot just 8-for-23 from the field.
Perhaps it was the product of the Cavs playing the second game of a back-to-back after beating the Jazz in Cleveland on Saturday. All that said, he still had a triple-doube with 15 assists and 12 rebounds.
But just look at this highlight for example. He traveled twice on the same play.
That's very unusual, even for a guy like LeBron who is known for getting away with travels.
With LeBron having to beat the Wizards with his passing, Kevin Love was a benefactor. He stepped up to drop 25 points and shoot 5-for-8 from three.
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Wall moves up the list: John Wall (15 points, 10 rebounds) moved up the Wizards/Bullets' franchise all-time scoring list by passing not one but two former Bullets legends in the first half. He pushed past Phil Chenier and Gus Johnson to now own sole possession of fifth place in franchise history. The four ahead of him are Elvin Hayes, Jeff Malone, Wes Unseld and Kevin Loughery. Loughery is only 46 points ahead of Wall, so he should be in fourth very soon.
Porter didn't play: Porter was considered a gametime decision after getting elbowed in his right hip on Friday night against the L.A. Clippers. He wasn't able to go, however, and missed his second game of the season. Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points, eight rebounds) started in his place and did exactly what the Wizards didn't want him to do, he got in early foul trouble.
After picking up two fouls in about 4:30 of gametime, Oubre had to take a seat and Coach Brooks had to get creative. He played Tomas Satoransky and Mike Scott some at the three for much of the rest of the first half. Oubre finished with four fouls, but only gave the Wizards 29 minutes and probably would have played more if he stayed out of foul trouble.
Scott remains hot: Another day, another big game for Scott off the Wizards' bench. With 19 points against the Cavs, he now has 99 over has last seven games while shooting 42-for-57. That's quite good.
Up next: The Wizards stay home to host Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
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