WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-108 on Friday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down...
1. The current course for the Washington Wizards has them on pace to threaten for a playoff spot, yet fall just short. If that ends up happening, they will look back at a game like Friday's and wish they could have it back.
Washington led by 16 points in the first half, but couldn't sustain their offense in the second half as Cleveland dominated the fourth quarter by a score of 31-21. It was an ugly end for the Wizards in a game that started out so well for them.
The Wizards went super cold in the second half with only 42 points. They had 41 points in the first quarter alone.
The Wizards started the second part of the season, now with the All-Star break behind them, on a sour note. That was after they entered the break winners of five of seven.
2. Rui Hachimura has a knack for starting hot on offense. He came out blazing once again with nine points in his first four minutes of action, including a three from the top of the key and a strong, two-handed putback slam.
But Hachimura also has a tendency to slow down offensively in games after those hot starts. It happened again in this one, as had only two points in the second quarter and six in the second half to finish with 17.
Hachimura continues to develop and round out his offensive repertoire with an increasingly respectable three-point shot and an emerging skill set off the dribble. But he is going to need to diversify his game further to counter defenses and sustain his scoring pace once opponents make adjustments.
3. They may only rank 20th in the league in total rebounding, but it is still a major strength for the Cavs who at the trade deadline added Andre Drummond to their frontcourt which already included Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. That No. 20 ranking was skewed by Love's injuries early this season and now they have Drummond, arguably the best rebounder in the NBA.
The Wizards are one of the worst teams in the league at cleaning the glass, but they held their overall, winning the category 61-58. In the second half, though, the Cavs tightened their grip and got timely rebounds when they needed them most. It was a major reason why they pulled out the victory.
Tristan Thompson was a killer on the glass in the fourth quarter and ended up with 11 rebounds to go along with 10 points. Drummond had 12 points and 12 boards. Love, interestingly enough, only had one rebound.
4. Speaking of Drummond, he must be pretty tired of Bradley Beal by now. If you recall, Beal went viral early this season when he crossed Drummond out of his shoes. Okay, maybe there was a slight push-off, but social media didn't care.
Well, Beal got Drummond again and this time it was with a vicious dunk. Beal caught Drummond alone under the rim in the third quarter and threw down one of the best dunks of his career.
That woke the crowd up at Capital One Arena after an uneventful first three quarters and it must have taught Drummond a lesson. Not long after, he had another chance to defend Beal at the rim and quickly got out of the way to clear the path for a dunk. It was what they like to call a 'business decision.'
Beal, by the way, finished with 26 points. That, however, was skewed by the fact he shot 32.1 percent from the field and 1-for-10 for three.
5. The Wizards had basically their full roster healthy coming out of the All-Star break, but it was close to being a very different story. Both Thomas Bryant and Ian Mahinmi were listed as questionable on the injury report before head coach Scott Brooks revealed pregame they would be available.
Both of them had the same injury, right foot soreness. We knew about Bryant's, as he missed the final four games before the break with his foot issue, which has been a recurring problem for him this year. Mahinmi's, though, was a surprise when it first popped up in the game notes.
Bryant came back on a minutes limit and was held to 16 minutes in this one. It bears watching how each of them are handled on Sunday and Monday as the Wizards play a back-to-back.
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