Cavaliers 113 – Wizards 100: The Growing Pains Continue | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Cavaliers 113 – Wizards 100: The Growing Pains Continue

By
Updated: November 9, 2019

Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Why did the Wizards lose to the Cavaliers by double digits on their home floor? I suppose it depends on who answers the question.

Coach Scott Brooks was so convinced that the free throw disparity–the Cavs shot 29 and the Wizards shot just six–played a significant role in the Wizards demise, that he led his postgame press conference with this line, “29 free throws to six, that’s hard to overcome….every time I complained they[the refs] said they had the call right.”

CJ Miles, who went scoreless and shot 0-for-7 in 15 minutes of play, blamed the loss on the lack of made shots and turnovers: “We were just missing them. We had been making them the last couple nights…We have a lot of mishaps — things that aren’t from us being overly aggressive of forced turnovers. We have some things [where] we try to make some hero plays, or just kind of slip up, being lackadaisical with the ball. I think we have to take some of those out. ”

Bradley Beal had no interest in the refs or the missed shots by he and his colleagues. He honed in on the poor defensive effort the Wizards showed as a whole: “Everybody wants to say we’re missing shots or whatever, but I mean, if we can control making shots, we’d be 100 percent from the field. Right? So it’s defense. We’ve got to be able to guard. Get back in transition and rebound. That’s what’s killing us.”

The truth is that Brooks, Miles and Beal were all 100-percent accurate in their assessment of the putrid performance put forth by the Wizards.

The Wizards only shot six free throws, but in fairness, they were nowhere near as aggressive in the paint as the Cavaliers. 19 of the Cavaliers 25 free throw attempts were by Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson.  Love’s go to move was to use a head fake on whoever was guarding him, and then to jump into that player to draw the foul. Thompson had nine offensive rebounds, and his aggressiveness led to his six free throw attempts.  The Wizards neither met nor matched that level of intensity in the paint, and Beal, who was by far the best player on the court, shot just two free throws—largely because he settled for outside shots (he shot 8-for-21) instead of getting to the basket.

The Wizards did not shoot lights out as CJ Miles alluded to after the game, but they shot 46-percent which was better than the 45-percent the Cavaliers shot from the field.  But the difference was indeed the turnovers.

The Wizards shot 52-percent from the field in the first half and the Cavs shot 50-percent.  But the Wizards also turned the ball over 11 times to just five times to the Cavaliers, which was the main reason they trailed 67-52 at halftime.  When the Wizards minimized their turnovers (they had just seven in the second half), and ran a more cohesive offense, they were able to turn a double-digit Cavs lead into single digits in both the third and fourth quarters.  But why weren’t the Wizards able to win despite them nipping their turnover issue in the bud?  As Bradley Beal alluded to, it was the defense or lack thereof.

All of Cleveland’s guards, whether it was Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson or Kevin Porter Jr., seemed to feast on mid-range jumpers or points in the paint. They would make a move off the dribble, get in the lane and shoot high percentage shots.  And when they missed, either Love or Thompson were there to clean up the mess. The Wizards perimeter players did not provide a sufficient amount of resistance, and their interior defense could not prevent Love and Thompson from rebounding and scoring.

That lack of defense, combined with the Wizards starters accounting for 15 of the 18 turnovers, ultimately contribute to the Wizards downfall.

Were there positives? Why yes, yes there were.

Rui Hachimura overcame a scoreless performance against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, to score 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting along with seven rebounds. And Thomas Bryant, scored 13 of his 23 points in the second half, when the Wizards fought to shrink the Cavs lead to just one point.  But their heroics weren’t nearly enough.

Bradley Beal briefly took over the game in the third quarter when he had six points and six assists, and helped shrink the Cavaliers lead from 21 to four points.  But at no point did Beal just flat out take over offensively and bail his lesser shooting teammates out. Yes he scored 20 points, but he shot 8-for-21 and he went to the free throw line twice in 39 minutes of play. Not exactly the type of performance expected out of a max player. Part of Beal’s subpar performance could justifiably be attributed to the lack of strong point guard play from Ish Smith and Isaiah Thomas.  But Beal was clearly the best player on the court, and at some point, his hubris–not his all around play–should have kicked to lead his team to victory against the lowly Cavs.

Is this young Wizards team destined to  produce these types of uneven, underachieving performances from now until John Wall returns, or will practice and browbeating from Coach Brooks provoke the team into playing better than they did last night against the Cavs?

Only time will tell, but for now? The Wizards are 2-6 with the second-to-last record in the Eastern Conference. A far cry from the good ol’ days of Gilbert Arenas…Speaking of Arenas…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rashad Mobley on FacebookRashad Mobley on InstagramRashad Mobley on Twitter
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.