The surging Washington Wizards will go for their eighth consecutive win when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
Washington has won nine of 10 to move into the playoff discussion in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards (26-33) sit in 10th place, good for the final spot in the play-in tournament.
The seven-game win streak is tied for the Wizards’ longest since winning seven straight from Jan. 23-Feb. 4, 2017. The franchise record is nine.
“It’s just a testament to our growth throughout the year,” Bradley Beal said. “We had some of the most craziest stories happening to our team, injuries and COVID and all that. We never really had a chance to be full; we’re still not full. But we got a lot of our guys back, got guys off minutes (restrictions). We’re just playing our best basketball right now, thankfully so.”
Last time out, Russell Westbrook finished with a game-high 37 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his league-leading 28th triple-double of the season in Washington’s 129-109 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday. It was Westbrook’s first game in Oklahoma City as a Wizard.
Beal added 33 points, marking the fifth game this season where the duo each scored 30-plus points.
Washington led by only two at halftime but pushed that to double figures early in the third quarter.
Rui Hachimura (left knee soreness) missed his third game in a row. Raul Neto filled in, and Isaac Bonga started in place of Deni Avdija, who is out for the season with a broken ankle.
Neto scored 15 points, shooting 6-of-10 from the field.
“I think one thing that Russ always tried to keep in our mind is how good we are,” Neto said. “Even though we were not winning games at the beginning, we were having good games. We beat some good teams. We know what we can do in this league, so I think that’s the most important thing.”
The Cavaliers (21-38), who have lost six of eight, are on the outside of the playoff picture with time running out. They trail 10th-place Washington by five games with 13 remaining. If they don’t make it, Friday’s loss will be one they remember.
After falling behind late at Charlotte, the visiting Cavaliers got within three with three minutes to play, but an 7-0 Hornets run sealed a 108-102 Cleveland loss.
The Cavaliers committed 16 turnovers to five for the Hornets. Charlotte also turned 15 offensive rebounds into 18-second-chance points.
“A lot of the turnovers in my opinion were just simple mistakes on our end,” Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen said. “Trying to rush, trying to make the home-run play in the second half when things got a little tighter.
Collin Sexton led all scorers with 28 points, going 11-for-19 from the floor, and added seven rebounds. Darius Garland added 27 points and six assists.
“I thought there were things we did defensively really well and there were opportunities offensively where we shared the ball and made each other better,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “But they made shots, and some really timely shots down the stretch. … Our guys were in the right spots, but they were just able to knock down shots.”
The Wizards and Cavaliers will play three times before the end of the season beginning Sunday.
–Field Level Media