The Rocket Mortage FieldHouse this morning hosted a meeting between two of the revelations of this beginning of the course. Cavaliers and Wizards faced each other in a duel between teams from the upper East zone that ended up falling on the side of the capital by 97-94, which allowed them to add their eighth victory of the course and become, along with the Bulls, in the team with the best balance of the conference (8-3). Cleveland, meanwhile, remains in sixth place with a 7-5 record.
The crash was fairly even and always moved very short distances, which almost inevitably produced a tight finish. The locals, who had several advantages of 10 points, made some attempt to try to escape, but Washington always found a way to react and to cut distances until reaching the last 15 seconds only two goals down (94-92) and with possession to look for the tie or to get ahead.
The ball went into the hands of Bradley Beal, who, thanks to an indirect block, was able to receive on the run and dribble to the basket, drawing numerous defenders to him. The guard took advantage of these aids to assist Kyle Kuzma, well positioned in the corner and ready to convert the triple that made it 94-95 and gave the Wizards their first lead of the second half. Darius Garland had one last pitch to return the Ohio team to the lead, but could not score and the capitalists sentenced the duel on the next possession.
With that triple, Kuzma managed to finish with 22 points and 6/9 on the outside shot, becoming Washington’s second leading scorer behind only Montrezl Harrell. The pivot was a sixth man as usual, and he did so by scoring 24 points and capturing 11 rebounds that helped his team survive a gray night from Bradley Beal, who stayed at 13 points after signing a poor 4/19 in the threw. The guard played despite the recent death of his grandmother, something he acknowledged at a press conference that he was having a hard time coping.
The Cavaliers, meanwhile, were also led by one of their substitutes, in this case by Ricky Rubio and his 20 goals. Despite this, the point guard was also key in a negative sense, as he missed a free kick with 15 seconds remaining, which would have put his team 3 up, so that Kuzma’s triple would have served simply to tie. The Spaniard was closely followed by Evan Mobley and Darius Garland, who scored 19 each, while Jarrett Allen posted a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
(Cover photo: Rob Carr / Getty Images)