Wizards go for 3rd straight win vs. Cavs
Last season the Wizards often lost ground when they went to their bench. This season Green, Kelly Oubre, and Austin Rivers are leading a more formidable second unit.
Green scored 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting Monday night and played strong defense at the other end. He is averaging 17 points and 6.3 rebounds over his past three games.
"He knows how to play," coach Scott Brooks said of Green. "It's not every night he's going to shoot four-for-five from three but he's starting to get a little bit of rhythm from the three-point line and we need that from him. We need his all-around play. He can guard just about everybody on the floor."
Green scored 10 of his points in the fourth quarter when Washington (4-9) outscored Orlando 34-26.
"I call him George Gervin because he's got the big hands to help him finish around the basket," Dwight Howard, who had 17 points and eight rebounds, said. "When he rolls to the basket, Jeff is hard to guard. Especially with the way he gets off the floor."
Another failing of last year's Wizards, who finished eighth in the East and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, was their habit of playing to the level of their competition and often losing to teams below them in the standings.
Washington's next two games are against the Cavaliers (1-11 plus tonight) and the Brooklyn Nets.
"Orlando is out the way, now we have to look forward to the next game against Cleveland," Brooks said. "That's the only thing that should matter. We can't overlook any team in this league, especially now that we've dug ourselves into a bit of a hole."
Cleveland overcame its latest round of injuries to defeat the Charlotte Hornets 113-89 on Tuesday night, ending a five-game losing streak.
Cleveland built a double-digit lead in the first quarter. The Hornets got within nine in the third quarter, but the Cavaliers pulled away and led by as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter. Reserve David Nwaba scored 18 points and Rodney Hook and Collin Sexton added 16 each.
"Tonight, we put ourselves in a position that we have not been in all year, where we have jumped out on someone and built a lead and able to maintain a lead," head coach Larry Drew told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"It just feels good kind of getting that monkey off your back with the losing streak, but more so that we've been working hard the last couple of weeks and we've been coming away empty handed. But tonight, we were able to sustain from start to finish and put together a complete game."
Already without forward Kevin Love (foot surgery), starting point guard George Hill (hamstring) and forward Sam Dekker (ankle), the Cavaliers also were minus forwards Kyle Korver (sore right foot) and Cedi Osman (back spasms) on Tuesday.