Cavs fall to Wizards; aren’t worried about 2-4 preseason
Last minute comebacks are always fun to watch.
As you nervously creep towards the edge of your seat on the couch, your heart races and your breathing labors. You continually dry the sweat from the palms of your hands on your pants then clutch them together in a pact to the Almighty and you promise you’re going to make some serious life changes if He can just grant you the pleasure of your team pulling out the win.
Especially when a nearly sold out crowd packs into Value City Arena to see their home-state defending world champions make minced meat of a team that went 41-41 last season.
Too bad in this scenario, the last minute hijinks fell short.
The Cleveland Cavaliers ended their 2016 preseason with a 96-91 loss against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio.
Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal led the charge with 17 and 13 points, respectively.
The two also combined for nine of the team’s 20 assists, Beal having five and Wall with four.
Columbus native Trey Burke also chipped in four assists, five rebounds, finished with eight points and tied Wall for the team lead with three steals.
Washington forward Andrew Nicholson led all scorers with 19 points going 7-of-8 from the floor and finished second on the team with eight boards.
Down 90-83 with two minutes to go in the game, it looked like the Cavs were going to walk away with their fourth straight loss of the preseason and finish out at 2-4.
But three-pointers from rookies John Holland and Jonathan Holmes and a left-handed floater in the lane from guard Markel Brown made it 92-91 with less than a minute to go.
But the Cavs couldn’t muster another shot to go down after that, missing two three’s and putting Wizards forward Marcus Thornton on the line three times where he calmly drained the last four points of the game from the free throw line.
He finished with 16 points, was a perfect 5-of-5 from the line and snagged five rebounds.
Most of the central Ohio crowd, though, came to see Lebron James, who did not disappoint the throes of spectators waving their signs asking for his hand in marriage or just simply to say they loved him.
At times King James, who got seated with less than five minutes to go in the third quarter and rode the pine for the rest of the game, thrilled those in attendance by kissing his bicep after getting hacked while calming swishing a layup late in the second quarter.
He also danced for the crowd while the Dance Cam prominently placed his mug on the Jumbotron right as the ball was being inbounded after a timeout.
The League’s four-time MVP was also his usual self, driving the lane then spinning back and hitting fade away jumpers with guys like 6’ 11” Marcin Gortat fading with him, their large paw clumsily unable to do anything to stop him from hitting the bottom of the net.
Nevertheless, it was not enough for The King to give his team a victory in the last game of the preseason, where the Cavs went 2-4.
But he knows this is all just a warmup and there is a lot of time to get things together as the season progresses.
“We just want to continue to hone in on our game, both offensively and defensively. We’ve got a week to get ready for game one, but we’re going to learn throughout the whole season. It’s not going to come together in six days before opening day. It’s a process for us. We understand that, and if we follow that we’ll be fine.”
He finished 8-of-13 from the floor and 2-of-4 foul shooting, leading the team with 18 points and also led all players with four steals.
Forward Kevin Love ended his night at the same time as James and ended up finishing second on the team with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-7 from behind the arc, and had three rebounds to boot.
The former UCLA standout said he felt good with where the team is at.
“I think we’re in a good place. We’ve had glimpses of what we’re capable of. I feel like we’re in good shape. We’ve had great practices and we’re going to continue to get better throughout the next week and be ready to go on ring night.”
Center Tristan Thompson finished his night second on the team in minutes (23:09), third in scoring with 14 points on a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor and notched the team’s only double-double pulling down 10 boards.
Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue was just happy to get out of preseason without any serious injuries.
“Yeah. Everybody came out injury-free. Kyrie got a little (injured) but it’s nothing serious. With the older group that we have, we just got everyone out injury free and now we’re ready to start the regular season.”
The Cavs open up their defense of the NBA title on Tuesday night in Quicken Loans Arena against the New York Knicks with the tip set for 8 p.m. EDT.