The Washington Wizards got off to a hot start Tuesday yet fell 95-90 in a road loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Washington had no answer for Cavs rookie Dion Waiters, who scored 12 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. John Wall scored a season-high 27 points in defeat.
The Wizards led the Cavs 33-20 after one quarter of play. Wizards forward Martell Webster sank 3-of-4 from three-point while center Emeka Okafor finished the period with 10 points and 5 rebounds. The Wall-orchestrated offense gave Washington's point guard 6 of his 14 assists and 8 of his 27 points.
Despite Washington's inside-outside start, Cleveland turned things around in the second quarter with an 8-0 run. The Cavs ended up out scoring the Wizards 30-16 in the period. Former Wizards forward-guard Alonzo Gee scored 8 of his 17 points while forward Tristan Thompson scored 11 of his 13. Wall added another 8 points in the period, but would fall flat in the third, as Cleveland out scored Washington 26-16.
The Wizards cut an 11-point fourth quarter deficit to as little as 3 with 45.8 seconds remaining, but former Wizards guard-forward Shaun Livingston milked the clock then won a jump ball which forced Washington to foul. Waiters kept the Wizards at bay as he sank all four of his free throw attempts in the final 13.1 seconds of regulation.
The Wizards bounced back Wednesday at home in a 106-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Wall finished with 23 points and 10 assists in an encore performance to his season-high night. Washington led by as many as 20 points and scored 30 or more points in every quarter but the third.
"We gave this game away and let them get back and get a three-point lead going into the fourth," said Wall postgame. "Main thing is we didn't hold our head. And Trevor Booker gave us a big lift in the fourth quarter. And Nene played good. We just came back and took the lead and didn't look back." Booker added 9 of his 13 points in the fourth while Nene recorded 6 of his 13 rebounds and 2 of his 6 assists. Booker finished with a 13 points, 12 rebounds double-double off the bench while Nene finished with an impressive 13 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists line.
Wall went 1-for-2 from behind the three-point arc and is now 3-for-20 on the season (.150) and 2-for-3 in his last three attempts. "I'm just being more aggressive from the start of the game," said Wall, regarding his play. "Not being passive. I think when I was extra passive, I had a lot of turnovers. I'm just being more aggressive and taking better shots than what I was taking. Just giving credit to me working harder with Sam Cassell on my jump shot."
With rookie Bradley Beal out day-to-day due to an ankle tweak, Wall has stepped up. Washington has back-to-back games Friday and Saturday but their road to the Playoffs is most likely over following Tuesday's loss. The 21-42 Wizards will host the New Orleans Hornets Friday (7:00 p.m. ET, CSN) and the Phoenix Suns Saturday (7:00 p.m. ET) followed by a four-game road swing.