Wizards/Cavs: The Evil Empire Wins Again | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards/Cavs: The Evil Empire Wins Again

Updated: December 18, 2017

It feels clichéd and slightly redundant to use the “close, but no cigar” expression to describe a sporting event–let alone the traditionally-close Cavaliers/Wizards series.  But the Wizards 106-99 loss to the LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers last night was yet another example of a close, winnable game that simply got away.

Advantages turned to disadvantages, positive defensive plays went unrewarded thanks to negative finishes on offense, and in the end the Wizards were left with compartmentalized moral victories, lots of praise for King James and those dreaded postgame platitudes.

Through three quarters of basketball, the Wizards were tied at 83 with the Cavaliers and all signs pointed towards a Wizards victory.  Bradley Beal, despite playing 33 of the games’s first 36 minutes, scored 25 points and despite just shooting 9-of-21 (including 4-of-10 from the 3-point line), he got to the basket at will, and if the lane was closed and he needed to rely on his jumper, that too was working.

But when Beal re-entered the game with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter  and the Wizards needed his offense to offset the surging Cavaliers, he had nothing left to give.  He went 0-for-5 from the field during that span, and at several points during that fourth quarter, Beal could be seen taking deep, deliberate breaths.  To his credit, after the game, Beal made no excuses and said that he was more mentally, than physically tired and he knew that he had to play extra minutes due to Otto Porter’s (bruised right thigh) and John Wall’s minutes restriction due to injury.  Still, it was clear that Beal, like the rest of his teammates, fell just short of sealing the deal.

Beal’s backcourt mate John Wall played the most minutes (30) that he’s played since returning from injury against the Grizzlies last week and at times he looked like his former All-Star self.  In the last six minutes of the second quarter when the Wizards were trailing by five points, he scored or assisted on 11 of the Wizards’ last 18 points, and the scored was tied at halftime.

But in the second half, Wall shot just 2-for-8 and he did not discriminate when it came the misses. He missed layups, 3-pointers, free throws and at times–as Wall is wont to do when he is frustrated–he seemed more focused on getting foul calls than he did on running the offense. Wall also had a crucial turnover with 3:39 left in the game when the Wizards were down three and had a chance to tie the game.  Kevin Love stole Wall’s pass, then went down on offense and hit a 3-pointer.   The Wizards got no closer than six points the remainder of the game. Oh and by the way, LeBron did this to him:


The sequence which best encapsulated the Wizards ability to get close but not close enough to overtake the Cavs, came with 8:12 left in the game.  Cavs guard Kyle Korver hit a 3-pointer to put his team up 92-89, and the Wizards had a chance to tie the game on the ensuing possession. First Satoransky had a wide-open corner 3-pointer and missed. The long rebound went right to John Wall, and he immediately launched a three-pointer, but he too fell short.  Satoransky procured the rebound and passed the ball to the sharp shooting Jodie Meeks, but he too missed a wide open 3-pointer.  The rebound went to the Cavaliers and eventually they pushed the lead to five points.  Again, close, but no cigar and definitely no tie.

Despite the close loss, there was plenty of fodder for the moral victory crew. Mike Scott picked up the slack for Otto Porter’s absence and Kelly Oubre’s foul trouble and scored 19 points (11 in the second half).  Not only did he contribute offensively, but he got his hands on loose balls, he stole the ball from LeBron, and he played excellent post defense against Kevin Love.

And LeBron James, who has plenty of influence both on and off the court, basically joined Beal-for-the-All-Star game marketing campaign:



But in the end the Wizards lost to the Cavaliers again.   At the conclusion of last season, the Wizards thought the Cavaliers purposely avoided them in the playoffs and in the offseason the chesty Wizards–mainly Wall and Beal–claimed that they were every bit of good as the three-time Eastern Conference finalists.

On November 3rd, LeBron dropped a cool 57 points to lead the Cavs to victory, and last night, all James did is get his third triple-double in the last three games (20 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds) and he did so without Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and a good performance from Tristan Thompson who had just four points in just his third game back after missing 18 due to injury.

Yes the Wizards were missing the services of Otto Porter but Mike Scott (19 points) and the foul-plagued Oubre (11 points and 8 rebounds) did more than enough to offset that loss.  The bottom line is that once again, in what has seemingly become a depressing recurring theme in the last two seasons, the Wizards did not do enough to defeat LeBron and his evil empire.





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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.