The Washington Wizards lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-94 on Friday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down...
Cavs are tough
With the season winding down and the importance of each game increasing for those trying to jockey for playoff position, the Wizards are having some trouble against the teams they are trying to chase. They lost another one on Friday on the road against the very good Cavaliers, as they never found an offensive rhythm against the league's top-ranked defense.
The Cavs beat the Wizards much like the Sixers did on Sunday and the Hawks, Bucks and Raptors have in recent games. When matched up against the better teams of the East, and the very best teams of the conference, the Wizards are coming up short.
This loss dropped the Wizards to 32-38 on the season. They have lost four of their last five games and six of eight.
The Wizards have developed an unfortunate trend recently of committing too many turnovers in key games against playoff-caliber teams. It happened against the Raptors and Hawks and then again vs. the Cavs. Washington had 17 turnovers, including 10 in the first half. The early miscues allowed Cleveland to capture the momentum and they never released their grip.
The Cavs were able to generate 21 points off those turnovers. As a result, they outscored the Wizards 17-to-7 on the fastbreak. It has to be an unsettling fact for the Wizards, that in some of their biggest games of the season, they have really struggled to protect the ball.
Davis played again
For the second straight game, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. gave Johnny Davis the nod off the bench earlier than usual. Davis entered this game with 9:29 left in the second quarter and ended up playing 18 minutes, about as many as Delon Wright (17 minutes). He had four points and four rebounds, shooting 2-for-3 from the field.
Davis' recent uptick in playing time has been explained by Unseld Jr. as a result of his improvement with the Capital City Go-Go. That case was bolstered by him playing in this game; unlike Tuesday's matchup with the Pistons, it was against a good team and Kyle Kuzma was also back. On that note, it will be interesting to see how they handle Davis's minutes for the rest of this season, comparative to where they go in the standings. Does the rotation tighten further as the end gets closer? You could also see why they would want to prioritize developing Davis with a look ahead to next year.
Beal's scoring chase
The Wizards had some trouble getting their offense going, but Bradley Beal was able to put together a solid stat line. He had 22 points, shooting 8-for-18 from the field and 5-for-7 from the free throw line. He also added eight rebounds, five assists, a block and a steal.
This game puts him just 196 points short of Elvin Hayes for the Wizards/Bullets franchise scoring record. It's getting more and more likely he will break the record this season. At this rate, based on his season scoring average, he will pass Hayes just nine games from now, on April 4 at home against the Bucks.
Kyle Kuzma was back in action after missing Tuesday's game with right knee soreness. It just wasn't his best performance, as he was limited to just seven points (3-7 FG) with four turnovers. He also battled foul trouble with five fouls.
Maybe the injury was still a factor, as that was an unusual night for him. These types of games are indirect reminders of how consistent he has been this season. In 63 games, this is just the fifth time he's been held under 10 points.