In the middle part of the second quarter in Friday’s game against the Cavaliers, the Wizards trailed by just five and the offense had, in Bradley Beal’s words, good pacing.
But then the switch flipped in an instant and the Cavaliers jumped out to an insurmountable lead that reached 36 by the middle of the third quarter. The end result was an ugly 116-101 loss that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.
In the loss, Wizards point guard Spencer Dinwiddie went 2-of-6 from the field with four assists and five points in more than 26 minutes on the floor. Postgame, when coach Wes Unseld Jr. was asked if he'd like Dinwiddie to be more aggressive, Unseld agreed.
“That probably is a question for Spencer,” Unseld said. “I would think he has to be more aggressive, especially early in the game. I know as a point guard a lot of times you want to set the table, kind of get guys involved. And I think we can do both, I’d love to see him be a little bit more aggressive. That doesn’t mean hunt shots, but a little more aggressive with his thrust up the floor, attacking, getting to the line. But just to get that started sooner.”
Against one of the best, and biggest, defensive teams in the league, the Wizards struggled to make shots during that terrible run in the second and third quarters.
The Wizards shot just 30% from the field in the second quarter — and had a better 3-point shooting percentage than overall shooting percentage that frame, too. They bounced back late in the third quarter, but it was too late by that point to get back into the game.
Washington had five players, Beal, Deni Avdija, Raul Neto, Kyle Kuzma and Aaron Holiday, reach double figures, but that note felt hollow as the game slipped away during a 19-0 Cleveland run.
“Outside of Brad we kind of have an equal opportunity system,” Dinwiddie said. “We got guys pushing the ball, guys shooting shots and trying to be aggressive. When they feel like they got a look, you try to get out the way. When they don’t, you try to make a play. That’s why sometimes I get the ball late clock, things like that.”
Once the offense started to falter, the defense did too, as the Cavaliers scored 34, 31 and 34 points in the first three quarters before letting off the gas in the fourth.
And when asked if he needed to be more aggressive, Dinwiddie said he wasn’t worried.
“It’s a long season, there’s a flow to it, Dinwiddie said. “You guys know how I feel about my game. It’s just simply a volume of possessions, I’m not a high turnover guy. You put me in a pick-and-roll, I’m going to shoot or pass it and figure it out. I’m not worried in terms of that respect, we’ve got a lot of guys trying to press the go button right now. Somebody’s going to not have the rock. You want to change it, then we can change it. It’s that simple.”