In their return home to the Verizon Center after the All-Star break, the Wizards took on the Cleveland Cavaliers in a much anticipated John Wall vs. Kyrie Irving match-up. Adding to the intrigue was the return of Andray Blatche from his calf injury. Ultimately led by big performances by the aforementioned John Wall and fellow backcourt starter, Jordan Crawford, the Wizards prevailed with a 101 to 98 victory over the visiting Cavaliers.
The Wizards were able to hold on late when Kyrie Irving missed a free throw that would have cut the lead to one point, and instead the lead remained at 100 to 98. JaVale McGee ripped down the rebound and was fouled, but Washington was not in the penalty. After a timeout, John Wall received the in-bounds pass and was sent to the line where he made one of his two shots — and was visibly mad at himself after Cleveland called a timeout with under four seconds to go. But the Wizards held on as Anthony Parker missed the would-be-tying 3-point shot.
And confetti rained down.
Now on to the Bullets Points:
- The battle between the young point guards, John Wall and Kyrie Irving, lived up to the hype. Kyrie Irving got off to a somewhat slow start before before finishing with 20 points, six assists, a rebound, and three steals. But the star of this match-up was clearly John Wall. His highlight of the night was when he ran down the court for a lay-in at the third quarter buzzer in under four seconds. He also drove aggressively to the rim all night and ended up with 24 points (8/17 shooting), five rebounds, five assists, two steals, three turnovers, and a big blocked shot on Kyrie Irving in the fourth quarter. Along with Jordan Crawford, John Wall was the reason the Wizards won their eighth game of the season tonight.
- John Wall’s 24 points were impressive, but it was Jordan Crawford’s 31 that led the way in scoring tonight for Washington. He scored twelve of those 31 in the final quarter and ended up shooting 13 of 22 (59%) from the floor. This marked the sixth time in the last eight games that Jordan had a shooting percentage of at least 50 percent. Adding to his impressive night was that he hit on five 3-pointers. It’s fair to say he’s fitting in just fine as the starting shooting guard.
- Nick Young missed tonight’s game with a bruised knee. It was his first missed game of the season.
- After a one game benching, JaVale McGee was back in the starting line-up and Kevin Seraphin — who started Wednesday vs. Orlando — did not play due to a coach’s decision.
- McGee played 25 minutes and had his share of bad plays once again. There was a sequence where he went the length of the court and lost the ball out of bounds as he was about to go up for a lay-in with Ryan Hollins in between him and the basket. If he was out there watching, I’m sure Flip Saunders was either screaming or laughing. He also accounted for two more turnovers and committed three fouls. However, he did contribute with 12 rebounds, four blocks, and nine points on 4/10 shooting.
- The starting backcourt of John Wall and Jordan Crawford combined for 55 points — more than half of the Wizards’ points. The next leading scorer after them was Roger Mason off the bench with 11.
- Rashard Lewis was once again a scratch with his sore knees.
- The leading scorer for the visiting Cavaliers was none other than former Wizard, Antawn Jamison. A.J. had 29 points and added nine rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
- Tonight marked the unanticipated return of “The Captain”, Andray Blatche. He came off the bench tonight to play 21 minutes. He offered up an air-ball jumper and an 0/3 shooting night in his return, with his lone point came from the free throw line. However, he did have 9 rebounds (4 offensive) and 5 assists.
- Jan Vesely aka Dunking Ninja aka Air Wolf had 9 points tonight. It was the first time he’s scored a single point since February 17 in Salt Lake City vs. the Utah Jazz. He also had 5 rebounds, three turnovers, and four personal fouls in his 22 minutes. I like Jan Vesely, I do. I appreciate his hustle, pick-and-roll defense, and athletic ability but eventually he’s going to have to develop some kind of offensive game — even if that means a single post move. That would be a start.
- Trevor Booker fouled out late in the game after adding 9 points and six rebounds.
- Box Score
The Wizards (8-28) take on the Golden State Warriors on Monday night from our nation’s capital next. See you all there.