There’s no debating that the game between the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday, was the NBA’s premier match-up of the night. Not only was it a game between two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, but its outcome also held potentially serious repercussions for the playoffs.
If Cleveland won, the standings would stay much the same only Washington would only be a 0.5 game ahead of the Toronto Raptors for control of the fourth seed. But if the Wizards won, the Cavs would then only be a 0.5 game ahead of the Celtics as the top seed in the East and 2.5 games ahead of Washington.
Well… the Wizards won, 127-115, meaning the race for home court advantage through the Eastern Conference Playoff just got a little more interesting.
Washington did everything to assert themselves in the first quarter, leading by 14 points after the first 12 minutes of action. That was due in large part to their absurdly good offense, shooting for a combined team field goal percentage of 81.8.
John Wall fueled the team’s incredible first quarter with a perfect shooting performance of his own. He nailed every one of his eight shot attempts for an impressive 18 points, with 5 assists and 1 steal to go along with it.
Wall spoke to his start and his ability to hit from mid-range:
“Just being aggressive (from mid-range). Like I said, I’ve been working out a lot working on my mid-range pull-up shot. That’s a shot I get a lot. I know throughout the playoffs, throughout my career guys have been giving me that shot. I had to be able to knock it down with confidence.”
Wall ended the night with 37 points (team high), 11 assists (team high), 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block, while shooting 14-21 from the field and 2-2 from beyond the arc.
Washington was led in rebounding by Kelly Oubre Jr., with 7 boards. Oubre also put up an impressive 16 points on 7-8 shooting from the field, sparking a bench that was without Bojan Bogdanović, who was a late scratch due to lower back stiffness.
D.C. looked in control for the majority of the game. There were several runs by the Cavs, but they were unable to tie the game up after the first quarter. Even still, you can never count out a team led by LeBron James.
James seemed to be Washington’s only problem through the night, putting up another near triple double, with 24 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. Due to the scratched cornea in his right eye that he sustained in Friday’s match-up against the Charlotte Hornets, LeBron started the game with a pair of goggles on. He tossed them off only about eight minutes into the game.
Next up for the Wizards is a Tuesday night match-up against the LA Lakers. Tip-off is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The game will be nationally televised on NBATV.