The Washington Wizards rebounded from their overtime loss to the Heat with an encouraging win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, 124-112.
After suffering an overtime loss to the Miami Heat, the Washington Wizards arrived in Cleveland past 4 AM, ultimately leaving with a win on Thursday night. Washington’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers was a rare game where it seemingly felt like it was in their control (almost) the entire fourth quarter.
The Wizards started slow, which is to be expected coming off a game the night before, and fell into a 16-6 hole early on in the first quarter. But head coach Scott Brooks let his starting unit play through it, resulting in a 29-24 Washington lead after one.
Then the Wizards poured on 39 points in the second quarter, ultimately reaching the halftime break with a 68-61 lead behind Bradley Beal’s 18 first-half points. Washington never looked back, with another stellar performance from their shooting guard and a great all-around team effort.
Beal finished with 36 points and eight assists on 68 percent shooting from the field. He played the role of the lead scorer and lead facilitator for Washington, leading them to a much-needed win.
He wasn’t alone in making large contributions for the Wizards. After a few quiet outings, point guard Ish Smith recaptured some of the brilliance that earned him “MVP!” chants just weeks ago. Smith finished the game with 17 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals.
And this highlight-worthy turnaround jumper over Cleveland’s Darius Garland:
Washington did a lot of things right in this one. For one, they attempted over double the number of free throws they saw during their last game against Cleveland. The Wizards went 14-for-18 from the charity stripe on Thursday, as opposed to 4-for-6 back in their November loss to the Cavaliers.
And it was nice to see Davis Bertans getting back to what he does best: scoring in spurts. The Latvian Laser had 14 first-half points, but only scored three points in the second half.
For Cleveland, it was Collin Sexton who stole the show. The Cavaliers’ sophomore guard finished with 29 points on 66 percent shooting from the field. He knocked down two big three-pointers and also had a monster dunk over Wizards’ wing Isaac Bonga in the third quarter.
But at the end of the day, Beal’s hot hand was far too much for the Cavaliers’ defense, the only one in the NBA to have a worse rating than Washington’s (114.8 to 115.6). It was a rare road win for the Wizards, who improve to 6-18 away from D.C.
Washington improves to 2-2 this season on the second night of a back-to-back and will look to build off Thursday’s win on Sunday when they take on the Atlanta Hawks for the third game of their road trip. Tip-off is at 6:00 pm est.
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