WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-101 on Friday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five observations from what went down...
When the Wizards and Cavs first met this season back on Nov. 10, the Wizards' offense didn't wake up until Kyle Kuzma got hot from three in the fourth quarter, but their defense kept them within striking distance, so they had enough to win. They had no such luck on Friday night in Washington, as the Cavs blew them out by 15 points and earned the Wizards their first round of homecourt boos this season.
The game was yet another sign the Wizards' defense is not what it was just a few weeks ago. The Cavs lit the Wizards up from three, shooting 13-for-30 (43.3%) from long range. They also dominated them on the boards, outrebounding Washington 54-to-33. Cleveland had 15 offensive rebounds and 18 second-chance points.
The Cavaliers tied the season series between the teams at 1-1. They will play two more times, on Dec. 30 in Washington and Feb. 26 in Cleveland. Given both teams are so close in the playoff picture, it will be something to watch for seeding purposes.
The Wizards fell to 14-9 on the season. They had won three of four coming in, but are also now 4-6 in their last 10 games.
Allen was too much
Though the score didn't reflect it at the end of the first quarter, this game started getting out of hand right away thanks to the play of Cavs big man Jarrett Allen. He has long been a problem for the Wizards after ironically being selected by the Nets with a first-round pick they traded away. And on Friday, he was dominant from the get-go with 14 points and six boards in the first quarter alone. He scored 11 of Cleveland's first 13 points.
Allen would have 18 points at halftime and 28 by the end of the game. He added 13 boards and two blocks. The Wizards had trouble matching up with the Cleveland frontcourt, which is one of the biggest in the NBA. They started three players 6-foot-11 or taller; Allen, Evan Mobley Jr. and Lauri Markkanen. The Wizards, meanwhile, do not have a player taller than 6-foot-10.
While they have been able to mitigate their lack of size at center in some matchups, some teams have given them problems, as the Pelicans did recently with Jonas Valanciunas. In this case, the Cavs ran pick-and-rolls with Allen and he had little trouble attacking and finishing at the rim.
Dinwiddie was off
While Allen had it going early, his former Brooklyn Nets teammate and good friend Spencer Dinwiddie wasn't himself. He didn't attempt a field goal in his first 13 minutes of floor time. That was odd to see, as he's second on the Wizards in shots this season, taking 12.1 per game.
Dinwiddie wasn't attacking the paint like he does when he's at his best. He found something in the second half but finished with only five points (2-6 FG) to go along with four assists and one rebound. This comes on the heels of a game against the T'Wolves on Wednesday when he had three points with 11 assists. In the three previous games he reached double-figures. It has been a bit of a mixed bag from him lately.
The second and third quarters combined to be a complete disaster for the Wizards, as they left the first down five points, went into halftime trailing by 19 and saw that lead stretch to a 36 in the third quarter, their biggest deficit of the season so far.
Cleveland outscored them 31-17 in the second and then 34-26 in the third quarter. At one point, the Cavs went on a 19-0 run from the 3:25 mark of the second quarter until Bradley Beal (14 points, 6-17 FG) scored a layup with 8:04 left in the third. The Wizards shot 6-for-20 in the second quarter. It was just plain ugly.
Hitting the road
The Wizards could have used this one because they are about to spend a lot of the next several weeks playing on the road. Nine of their next 10 games are away from D.C. and during that stretch, they will face some heavy hitters like the Nuggets, Jazz, Suns, Nets and Knicks. Their one home game during that run is another meeting with the Jazz, who have the third-best record in the West.
The Wizards are now 8-3 at home with Friday's loss, which is markedly better than their 6-6 away record. That's not bad, but the Wizards will have to tread water for an extended period. On the other side of this 10-game stretch, they will play 12 of their next 14 games at Capital One Arena, including eight straight. It's a weird schedule this year.