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LeBron, Cavs see similarities in Patriots' Super Bowl comeback

LeBron, Cavs see similarities in Patriots' Super Bowl comeback

The last 11 months in sports have been exceptionally good for wild finishes in championship games. The NCAA Tournament was won on a last-second shot. The NBA Finals went seven games and down to the final minute. The World Series went seven games and the seventh needed 10 innings to end 108 years of heartbreak. The NCAA football title game was won in the last second. And Sunday's Super Bowl was the first ever to go to overtime and end on sudden death.

The winners of one of those epic games, the Cleveland Cavalieres, are in town to face the Wizards on Monday night, offering LeBron James and company to offer their thoughts and draw comparisons to what they were able to do last June against the Golden State Warriors, coming back from being down 3-1 in the series to win it all, to what the New England Patriots did in the Super Bowl.

Naturally, they see some similarities.

"The game ain’t over til it’s over," James said. "You gotta play the game out and as a fan watching the game you see the ups and downs. But, you seen the momentum start to change a little bit when they was able to get that first score, so I never counted him out."

"I know with the Patriots and our team, we have greats. Having LeBron James on your team, Kyrie who is great and then having a Tom Brady and one of the best coaches of all time in all sports [in Bill Belichick], you just got to have that belief," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, who watched the game at the MGM with several players, said.

"Being down 3-1 where no team in NBA history has ever come back from in an NBA Finals and then I think the largest lead [overcome] in a Super Bowl was 10 and they were down 25. And to come back being down 19 to start the fourth quarter, I mean, everyone counted them out. They counted us out the same exact way and for those guys to come back and win was just unbelievable."

The comparisons between LeBron and Brady are not lost on LeBron himself. He said he has a mutual respect for the Patriots' legend.

"I just see greatness in Brady. He’s very calm. He’s very calm, no matter the situation, no matter the situation, no matter what was going on throughout the game. He’s just very calm. Worrying about what the next play was, worrying about making the next completion," James explained. "Just keeping his guys mentally focused on the job at hand. You’ve got to have that. You’ve got to have a sense of calm when everything else and everybody else is erratic, you’ve got to have a sense of calmness about you as the leader because your troops see that. When they see that, then they feel good about themselves."

With all of those comebacks, is it now en vogue - maybe even preferable - to have the odds stacked against you with a championship on the line? Not quite.

"I don’t know. I guess you’d rather have a lead than not have a lead," James said. "Just look at what’s been going on in our major sports, let’s just say it’s been great for the fans."

[RELATED: Wizards-Cavs: Oubre likely will spend time defending Irving]

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Wizards finally experience a blowout win for their side

Wizards finally experience a blowout win for their side

CAPITAL ONE ARENA -- The Washington Wizards experienced plenty during this largely trying regular season. One aspect missing, being on the all-smiles end of a blowout victory. After Wednesday’s 119-95 rout over the Cleveland Cavaliers, they can now check that box.

“It’s nice to experience that as well,” Tomas Satoransky said.

Washington led from start to finish and by double figures for the final 35 minutes. It set season-highs for points in a quarter (41 in the first), the first half (73) and largest halftime margin (21). The Wizards turned 24 Cavalier turnovers into 29 points. All 13 players scored. 

Quality stretches existed this season, but for minutes, a quarter, maybe a half, but rarely over the full 48. Other than a third-quarter dip when the Cavaliers (2-12) closed within 13 points, the Wizards rolled. The romp meant John Wall only played 21 minutes. None of the starters entered in the fourth quarter. That last part happened in recent games, but this time for positive reasons.

“It was great,” Bradley Beal said of a game “[We were] able to come out and get a lead and be able to sustain it and maintain it throughout the game.”

The Wizards maintained little during the opening 11 games of the regular season other than a downtrodden vibe. Their 5-9 record reflects those struggles. The current three-game winning streak signals growth. The postgame locker room smiles and comments displayed some sense of relief.

“I think we needed that, obviously,” Satoransky said to NBC Sports Washington. The reserve point guard was part of the second quarter surge that saw the Wizards outscore the struggling Cavaliers 20-2 for a 61-34 lead.

“They were on a back-to-back and they haven’t been playing well this year. We felt like with a day off after our last win we could come out aggressively, and just keep it going,” said Satoransky, who had eight points, four assists and three steals in 17 minutes. “Trying to turn the season around.”

The Wizards aren’t naïve enough to think all problems are solved. The three wins came against teams with losing records. Victories over Miami and Orlando included shaky stretches. The big picture hole remains.

“We still have a lot of work to do – we still have to get better,” said Beal, who led Washington with 20 points. “We’re still not content with where we are. We put three [wins] together, but we still have a couple more at home that we have to take care of.”

All of that is true. Numerous gloomy statistics remind the reader of the rough beginnings. Washington entered Wednesday allowing a league-high 118.5 points per game. At least now, the Wizards can contemplate their issues without the weight of the world on their shoulders. For now, the league-wide media will find another target after pillaring the Wizards for weeks. Finally, positive momentum arrived and did so with the Nets, Clippers and Trail Blazers rounding out the homestand.

“I hope we can continue winning,” Satoransky told NBC Sports Washington. “We have three more games at home. I think it’s a good moment for us to turn things around. Brooklyn has been playing well and those two [Western Conference] teams are going to be tough, but I think we’re in a good way now.

“It’s great to experience something like that [blowout]. It helps you mentally. It helped just being able to win three in a row. You can feel it. Whenever you step on the court after that you feel more confident, so that’s good.”

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5 must-see moments from the Wizards' blowout win over the Cavs, including John Wall owning Collin Sexton

5 must-see moments from the Wizards' blowout win over the Cavs, including John Wall owning Collin Sexton

The Washington Wizards blasted the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-95 on Wednesday night. Here are five plays or moments worth revisiting...

1. Wall vs Sexton: This game featured a matchup between one of the sport's most accomplished point guards and one who is just getting his career started. John Wall of the Wizards and Collin Sexton of the Cavs went at it and, not surprisingly, Wall had the edge on the rookie.

The five-time All-Star only scored eight points, but two of them came on a play that made Sexton show his inexperience. Wall zoomed down the court and had Sexton way off balance as he backpedaled towards the rim:

 

In addition to eight points, Wall had nine assists, two steals, and a block. He played only 21 minutes because the Wizards were able to rest their starters late due to the blowout.

2. Beal's big dunk: Bradley Beal put up some impressive numbers for a guy who only played 28 minutes. He posted 20 points with three assists, three rebounds, and three steals. He also hit his 900th career three-pointer.

This was his best play, a two-handed slam that Jordan Clarkson wanted no part of:

Speaking of Clarkson, what the heck was this, man?

3. Oubre's block: Kelly Oubre Jr. only shot 3-for-11, but did a lot of other things to help the Wizards win. He pulled in seven rebounds, had a steal and a block.

His block was nasty:

4. Mahinmi's first three: This was the most memorable moment of the night. Ian Mahinmi, playing in his 11th season and his 556th regular season, knocked down his first career three-pointer.

As we learned afterward, Wall set it all up. He told Mahinmi to go to the corner and, sure enough, it worked:

5. Beal's and-1: Beal had eight of his 20 points in the third quarter as the Wizards held off the Cavs' final push. This play was a good example of how he was just plain feeling it.

The Cavs had no hope in stopping him get to the rim for an and-1:

The Wizards have now won three straight games. At 5-9, they are only one game out of a playoff spot, which is crazy to think about given how poorly they started off the year.

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