The Wizards made it a one possession game with no shot clock and basically just had to hold onto the ball without turning it over. Guard John Wall had the opportunity to extend the lead but his jumper was short hitting the rim. Cleveland grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Lebron James split a pair of free throws giving Washington a final chance to take the game. That hope was short-lived as Wall drove to the basket and passed the ball back out. Cavs rookie Cedi Osman stole the ball. Osman made two free throws after being fouled to secure the win for Cleveland.
What statement was truly made? Wall mentioned how he wanted to play top teams that they’ll see in the playoffs rather than other teams.
How they play against top teams
“I want to play against the teams that are going to be in the playoffs. No offense to the teams that are not going to the playoffs”, he said. “I want to play against Cleveland and definitely against Boston because those are who we might end up seeing in the playoffs. So, leave a statement there.”
Well John you did and look what happened. Washington has now lost seven of their last nine games looking like an easy opponent in the playoffs. The loss by the Cavaliers puts the Wizards in a three-way battle with the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks for seeding in the playoffs. Of course, if the playoffs began tomorrow, Washington would be headed to face the Boston Celtics.
Wall finished with 28 points and 14 assists. Bradley Beal added 19 points, eight assists, and nine rebounds. James’ stat line was just one rebound shy of a triple-double (33pts, 14ast, 9reb). Forward Jeff Green had 21 points only missing two shots overall.
The Wizards’ players and fans want the seven seed because facing Cleveland was such a sure loss. Looking back at this team, it’s clear that any team in the Eastern Conference can take out Washington. The Wizards and leads are not dependable especially in crunch time.
A little chance against Boston
If Washington plays the Celtics, they seem to have a better chance since guard Kyrie Irving has been confirmed to out for the remaining of the season and the playoffs. Irving will have surgery on Saturday to remove two screws from a previous surgery back in 2015. The recovery time is about four to five months.
Washington’s core possible playoff opponents are the Celtics, Cavaliers if moved up to a six seed, or the Toronto Raptors if they drop to the eight seed. The Wizards have the ability and the players to beat top teams in the East. Lackluster performances in the second let alone just the fourth quarter will continue to hinder them.
If moving past the first round of the NBA playoffs are in their sights, then a change is needed ASAP.