Cavaliers face Wizards following White House visit
WASHINGTON — The Cleveland Cavaliers were in the nation's capital Thursday for a White House meeting with President Barack Obama.
They did not head home right away.
Instead, they stuck around for Friday's game with the Washington Wizards.
LeBron James and his teammates need a return to their title-winning form or a second straight loss could occur especially if John Wall keeps his emotions in check.
The Cavaliers (6-1) suffered their first loss of their season Tuesday as the Atlanta Hawks hung tough for a 110-106 win. Cleveland twice rallied from double-digit deficits in the second half, but could not finish the job despite James scoring 21 of his 23 points in the second half. Shooting only 37.4 percent from the field including 11 of 42 on 3-pointers didn't help.
“It's our game. It's what we do,” James said of the numerous shots from long range. “We had some pretty good looks. We're a team that when the ball is moving and you're the recipient of it, you have to let it go. You never want to second-guess yourself.”
Cleveland leads the league in 35.7 3-point attempts per game. The Cavaliers are in the top-10 in 3-point shooting percentage at 36.4 percent and have four players who make at least 35 percent from behind the arc.
Wall wishes he had another chance concerning his late game decision in Washington's 118-93 romp over the Boston Celtics.
The three-time All-Star guard was whistled for a Flagrant 2 foul against Marcus Smart in the final minutes of the blowout with the Wizards up 20 points in their best start-to-finish performance of the season.
“It was just me getting frustrated,” said Wall, who was also ejected late in Monday's loss to the Houston Rockets for making contact with an official. “I had my fingers bleeding, they got stepped-on on purpose. I drove to the basket a couple times and didn't get calls. The play before that, I was dribbling and got smacked right across the face to my ear. I just let my frustration get the best of me.”
Even with Wall getting frustrated, it was a satisfying night for the Wizards, especially Otto Porter.
Porter got the best of the Celtics with a career-high 34 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Washington's starting small forward made his first three 3-pointers and outscored Boston 13-8 in the first quarter. The Wizards led 34-8 entering the second period and were never truly threatened.
“Otto has been great,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said. “He gives you a lot of winning basketball plays. You can look at his field goal percentage, you can look at all the things that he does; his mid-range game, his three-point shot has developed, his offensive rebounds. But what he gives you, he gives you a winning spirit, and he does that throughout the game on both ends. “
The Wizards will need plenty from Porter against the Cavaliers regardless, but especially if Bradley Beal doesn't play. Beal left in the third quarter with right hamstring tightness.
Beal had an MRI Thursday and was listed as questionable for Friday. Last year he missed 27 games with leg injuries.
Cleveland and Washington split four games last season and the road team has won 12 of the last 22 meetings.