The Wizards welcomed the defending champs into The Verizon Center last night, but they were lacking their starting shooting guard Bradley Beal due to a hamstring injury he suffered Wednesday night. Otto Porter was coming off a career high 30 point game, but couldn’t replicate his performance against the Cavs. Cleveland was able to hold him to just 11 points. The Cavaliers would win 105 to 94, with LeBron making history in the process.
The Wizards came out hot in the first quarter shooting 62.5% and leading the Cavs 31-26. Wall had a great start with 12 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. came off the bench and went 4-of-4 from the field. Washington played great defense and got some key deflections which led to fast break points. The Wizards tried to keep up the defensive intensity and the hot shooting going into the second quarter.
The home team clawed out a 12 point lead in the second quarter, getting great production from the bench who helped pushed the lead up to double digits with some of the starters. Wall had 23 points at halftime going 11-of-17, leading all scorers. The reigning champs would fight back and re-take the lead, closing the half strong.
Lebron James had 16 points at halftime, making history by becoming the youngest player (31) in the NBA to reach 27 thousand career points, Kobe Bryant held the previous record (32) according to bleacher report.
The third quarter was a strong quarter for the champs, they hit some timely triples to push the lead up double digits at one point. Kyrie Irving and Jr. Smith caught fire and were a big part of Cleveland going up by 12 in the quarter. The quarter ended with the Cavaliers on top 84-75, an example of their championship resolve.
In the fourth quarter, things continued from the third quarter. The home team did make a run that cut the deficit to five at one point, but their drop off in defensive intensity was to much to overcome.
In the second half the Cavs basically took Wall out of the game, after scoring 23 points in the first half, he’d finish with 28. James and Irving scored a combined 56 points, Kyrie took over in the second half.
Beyond the Arc. The Wizards struggled shooting the long ball, they get open looks but have failed to knock them down on a consistent basis. They shot just 20% (3-for-15) from distance, while the Cavs shot 42% (14-for-33). Kyrie Lebron, and Smith accounted for 12 of the 14 made triples.
Rebounding. The battle on the boards was pretty much evenly matched, both teams had 40 plus boards. Offensively the Cavs had 13 while the Wizards brought down 10.
Defense. In the first half the Wizards brought great intensity on defense, they found themselves up by 12 at one point. They lost that intensity in the second half and the Cavs did a good job containing John Wall. Holding him to just five second half points after a great start.
Free throws. The Cavs shot 73% from the line going 19-of-26, that’s seven more free throws they attempted compared to the Wizards. Washington shot better from the charity stripe, going 15-of-19 (78%), but they needed to attack the basketball more and put get some easy points.
Bench Production. The Wizards received some help from their bench last night, getting 29 points from the group. Kelly Oubre Jr. led the way with 10 points. Cleveland’s bench only scored 16 points, with much of their fire power coming from the starters (89 points).