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Five observations from Wizards' 119-95 blowout win over the Cleveland Cavaliers

Five observations from Wizards' 119-95 blowout win over the Cleveland Cavaliers

The Washington Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-95 on Wednesday night. Here are five observations from the game.

Finally, a Blowout: 

The Wizards' season so far has been largely defined by them making things harder than they need to be. On Wednesday, it all came together in a game in which they cruised to victory. Finally, they got an easy one.

Sure, it helped they were playing quite possibly the worst team in the NBA. But over the past year, these situations haven't always meant a guaranteed win. 

The Wizards led by as many as 27 points in this one. They scored 41 in the first quarter, their most in an opening frame since 2014. Though the Cavs made it slightly interesting in the third quarter, the Wizards were essentially in complete control from start to finish.

Important rest minutes: 

The Wizards haven't blown out teams often since the beginning of last season. At least, they haven't had many games so lopsided their starters could take the end of the night off.

Last season, they won by 20 or more points just three times. Considering there were 168 such games in the NBA last year, that isn't a whole lot.

Against the Cavs on Wednesday, the Wizards only needed to play John Wall 21 minutes. Bradley Beal played 28, Otto Porter Jr. 26, Markieff Morris 21 and Dwight Howard 20. It was a stress-free victory and every team needs those every once in a while.

Welcome to the league, rook: 

The box score will show that Cavs' rookie guard Collin Sexton had a big night offensively. The No 8 overall pick in the 2018 draft scored 24 points and shot a solid 9-for-16 from the field and looks like an excellent building block for Cleveland.

But a closer look reveals Sexton had a bit of a 'welcome to the league, rookie' game. Wall and Beal ate him alive on defense and forced him into four turnovers, all in the first half, with relative ease.

There was one play that exemplified Sexton's night against Wall, in particular. Wall got to the rim on an and-1 play that saw Sexton turn all sorts of ways as he tried to stay in front of the five-time All-Star:

That's a brand of sauce Sexton had probably never seen before.

Depth on display: 

The Cavs are so bad without Kevin Love, big picture conclusions can't be drawn from the success teams have against them. That said, the Wizards showed an impressive level of depth on Wednesday.

Their core bench players all registered double-digit plus-minus ratings. All five members of their second unit scored eight points or more.

One category of stats tells the story best and it involves Wall. The Wizards' star only scored eight points in 21 minutes. He shot 3-of-10 from the field and had three turnovers.

The Wizards had not won a game with Wall scoring eight points or fewer since 2014. They hadn't won with him playing 21 minutes or fewer since 2013.

Wall has been so important to their success over the years that they rarely win when he has off-nights. They haven't won when he's put up numbers that bad in years. 

Yes, it's the Cavs. But the Wizards have the depth now to be less reliant on Wall. That's a good thing for everyone.

Finally, a Ma3nmi!

Wizards fans who showed up on Wednesday night saw something no other NBA fans had ever seen before. You could say they saw history.

That's because Mahinmi, playing in his 11th season, made his first ever three-point shot. Yes, that's right. After missing his first 10 career attempts, Mahinmi finally got one to go down.

It was a special moment, particularly on Twitter, where the phrase 'Ma3nmi' could be used for the very first time during a regular season game.

All kidding aside, Mahinmi deserves some legitimate credit here. He worked diligently over the summer and all throughout the preseason to develop a game-ready three-point shot. At the end of every Wizards practice and shootaround, he can be seen taking shot after shot from long range.

Despite having already played a decade in the NBA, Mahinmi is still adding to his game. 

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Jordan McRae on what it was like being in Detroit when teammate Christian Wood tested positive for coronavirus

Jordan McRae on what it was like being in Detroit when teammate Christian Wood tested positive for coronavirus

Detroit Pistons power forward Christian Wood was the third player in the NBA to be diagnosed with COVID-19 back on March 14. Thankfully, Wood has fully recovered from the illness as of March 25, but the time leading up to his positive test was crazy—just ask former Washington Wizard, now Piston, Jordan McRae.

"Me and Christian [Wood] actually went out to eat that night and he was fine, he was good," McRae told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast. "We had practice the next day, he was fine. Then before the [Sixers] game, he was like 'Yo, I don't really feel good, I might not play.'"

"We all gave him a hard time like, 'Yo, we have Joel Embiid tonight and now you out sick? You don't want to play.'"

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

The grief must've gotten to Wood because he decided to suit up and ended up having a career night vs. Philadelphia with 32 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. 

"The doctors gave him some medicine and stuff and he was cool," McRae continued. "I think he had 32 and 14, he played good."

"After the game, we got on the bus to leave the arena but they then made us all get off the bus and told us 'Rudy Gobert tested positive.' So we came home, all got tested, and they told us we had to be quarantined for 14 days."

All athletes had similar questions when they were told to self-quarantine for two weeks. For McRae, because his living arrangement was unique due to being freshly claimed off waivers by the Pistons on March 4, it was simple:

"'Can I go home?" McRae said. "I was in a hotel, it was nice but at the end of the day, it's still four walls. I'm going to be here for 14 days?" 

"They ended up getting me an apartment," McRae said. "But for 14 days I wound up buying an Xbox. I don't play [NBA] 2K but ended up playing 2k half of the time. It was tough. I played an 82 game season, the playoffs and the championship in three days."

This hiatus from basketball also has McRae participating in other uncharacteristic activities just to stay in shape and entertained. 

"I just bought a Peloton bike," McRae said. "I'm not a fan of exercise bikes and treadmills because I always play, but now I find myself doing things I don't normally do.

"I watch my highlights, I can tell you on some of my highlights what happens before it happens."

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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How to watch Wizards' huge comeback win vs. Clippers, NBA 2K20 sim vs. Pelicans

How to watch Wizards' huge comeback win vs. Clippers, NBA 2K20 sim vs. Pelicans

It was a time when John Wall trade rumors were swirling, months before he would rupture his Achilles in an injury that's kept him sidelined ever since. 

The Wizards still managed to erase a 24-point deficit en route to a 125-118 win over the Clippers in Nov. 2018. Wall led Washington with 30 points and eight assists while Bradley Beal had 27 and seven of his own. Sure, it was a Clippers squad constructed pre-Kawhi Leonard and Paul George acquisitions, but it's a reair you have to watch, nonetheless. 

Before that, though, you're going to want to get your fix of the Wizards' 2020 schedule with an NBA 2K20 simulation against the Pelicans. Rookie Zion Williamson is a force to be reckoned with, and sports pundits all over were wondering if a possible postseason push could earn him the Rookie of the Year award. 

Still, the Wizards, even without Wall, have been on a tear in recent NBA 2K contests. 

Here's how to watch all the action. 

When:

Wedneday, April 1 at 7 PM ET

Where:

  • NBC Sports Washington (channel finder
  • Any of our 24/7 authenticated streaming platforms
  • Monumental Sports Network via its website www.monumentalsportsnetwork.com or via any of its available apps on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Xbox.

 

Broadcast schedule

6:00 PM: NBA2K Simulation: Los Angeles Lakers @ Wizards  (R)

7:00 PM: NBA2K Simulation: New Orleans Pelicans @ Washington Wizards  (R)

8:00 PM: NBA Classics: Los Angeles Clippers @ Wizards (R) (November 20, 2018, Wizards comeback from a 24-point deficit in wild win)

Starting lineups

The nice part about this is we don't have to wait as long to know the starting lineups. Just don't tell the 2K computer. 

Wizards
PG - Shabazz Napier
SG - Bradley Beal
SF - Jerome Robinson
PF - Rui Hachimura
C - Thomas Bryant

Pelicans
PG - Lonzo Ball
SG - Jrue Holiday
SF - Brandon Ingram
PF - Zion Williamson
C - Derrick Favors

So if you're like us and desperately miss watching NBA basketball, tune into NBC Sports Washington on Wednesday night to get the closest thing to a live game. We'll get through this hiatus together. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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