WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP)–Tristan Thompson’s three-point play with 24.4 seconds remaining gave the Cleveland Cavaliers their first two-game winning streak of the season as the Cavaliers beat the Washington Wizards 87-84 on Wednesday night.
Kyrie Irving, who had 26 points to lead Cleveland, made one of two free throws with 9.5 seconds left after Jordan Crawford and Garrett Temple missed jumpers for the Wizards. Crawford made two free throws with 8.5 seconds left to cut the lead to 86-84. Irving hit one of two, and Crawford missed a 3-pointer as time ran out.
Irving had 20 of his 26 points in the first half for the Cavaliers, who improved to 7-23. Two of their wins are against Washington, losers of eight straight.
Thompson had a season-high 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Crawford and Emeka Okafor led the Wizards with 17 points and Nene had 16.
Washington took a 79-73 lead with 6:20 to play, but Cleveland scored nine straight points to take an 82-79 lead with 3:37 left.
The Wizards were held scoreless for 4 1-2 minutes until Okafor hit a hook shot with 1:50 to play to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to 82-81. Irving missed two free throws with 1:01 to play, and Okafor hit one of two with 46.2 seconds to play for an 82-all tie.
The Wizards broke on top 22-10 with 4:51 to play in the first quarter, thanks to Nene’s 10 points. Cleveland’s Irving had 12 of his 20 first-half points in the second quarter to help the Cavaliers grab a 45-43 halftime lead.
Washington started Shelvin Mack at the point. It was Mack’s first NBA start. The second-year guard had been cut by the Wizards at the end of training camp, and re-signed on Tuesday after a strong stint in the D-League.
Mack was starting because Crawford was late to Wednesday’s shootaround according to a team source. Before the game, Washington coach Randy Wittman said that Crawford was benched for a violation of team rules.
The Wizards scored 12 straight points to take a 62-53 lead with just over 7 minutes left in the third quarter with Mack hitting consecutive 3-pointers.
Irving missed all five of his field goal attempts in the third quarter, but hit two free throws to tie the score at 68-all to end the period.
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Following the loss, Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman said that newly-signed point guards Shelvin Mack & Garrett Temple will be his point guards for now on. Mack was a +11 on the night, while Temple was a -7.
Mack hurt his groin “a little bit” late in the fourth quarter.
“A little different playing 40 minutes in the D-League, 40 minutes in the NBA,” Mack said.
Randy Wittman summed up their eighth straight loss by saying “All of us won’t commit to playing defense” but he also said there is more to the game than just scoring.
“We’ve got too many guys that just worry about shooting the basketball and not about other parts of the game.”
Listen here to what Randy Wittman, Shelvin Mack, Emeka Okafor, Garrett Temple and Martell Webster said following the loss.
Randy Wittman Postgame Audio
Shelvin Mack Postgame Audio
Emeka Okafor Postgame Audio
Garrett Temple Postgame Audio
Martell Webster Postgame Audio
Also listen here to what Cavaliers Head Coach Byron Scott and players Kyrie Irving, Luke Walton and Tyler Zeller had to say following the game.
Byron Scott Postgame Audio
Kyrie Irving Postgame Audio
Luke Walton Postgame Audio
Tyler Zeller Postgame Audio