Against another Eastern power, the sorcerers lack cavaliers
The loss was the Wizards’ second this week against an Eastern Conference competitor. They fell, 112-93, to Philadelphia on Sunday.
Wizards take a closer look at rookie Johnny Davis in Rookie of Pistons
Cleveland’s offense cruised in large part because the Cavaliers established defensive dominance from the tip.
The NBA’s top-flight defense forced Washington (32-38) to have 17 turnovers – resulting in 21 points – and was so overwhelming that Wizards players, if they could even get close to their favorite seats, played their way through crowds had to. The Cavaliers (45-28) led wire to wire.
“We just weren’t ready to play. That was all,” said Bradley Beal. “We came out very slowly, not much energy. And that just sort of caught on over the course of the game.”
The weekend doesn’t get any easier after that. On Saturday, Washington hosts the Sacramento Kings (42-27), who are second in the Western Conference and present the opposite challenge: They have the league’s highest-ranked offense.
Beal led four scorers in double figures with 22 points and eight rebounds, and Kristaps Porzingis had 20 points and nine rebounds. Kyle Kuzma had just seven points in 25 minutes due to foul problems.
Corey Kispert had 12 points off the bench.
Here’s what else you should know about the loss of the wizards:
Cleveland may have the league’s highest-rated defense and third-ranked paint defense, but every team has its weaknesses. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. spoke before the game about the Cavaliers’ tendency to leave the three-point corner open, but the Wizards couldn’t take advantage of it.
Washington went 7 for 21 from the three-point line and rarely had success even getting around Cleveland defenders and into the corners. The Cavaliers had a characteristically low night of shooting from beyond the arc – going 3 for 17 – but made up for it by forcing turnovers and scoring in the transition.
“They closed hard,” Porzingis said. “I got a few shots at the beginning but after that it was a tough finish. So I tried to drive a bit more but they also closed the color. To be honest, everything we tried was hard. You made it difficult for everyone. At the moment? They’re just a better team than us. And they showed it.”
Davis sees early action again
Rookie Johnny Davis had four points and four rebounds in 19 minutes and again saw early action checking in for the first time in the second quarter. Unseld said he plans to find Davis more minutes at the end of the regular season.
“It’s a feeling,” Unseld said of deciding when to play the lottery in the future. “I thought he did really good things defensively once again. Good posture, pretty good effort. As for the communication piece, it needs a little cleaning up. That will come. I thought he was aggressive going forward, which I like.”
Wizards sign Xavier Cooks
Washington announced Friday that it has signed Australia National Basketball League forward Xavier Cooks to a multi-year deal.
Cooks, who helped the NBL’s Sydney Kings to their second straight championship on Wednesday, arrived in Washington the following day to begin medical checks and will attend his first game as a Wizard on Saturday, although he won’t will be available to play.
The 6-foot-8, 183-pound forward graduated from Winthrop in 2018 — he helped lead the Eagles to the 2017 NCAA tournament — before spending five seasons overseas. He was named this season’s NBL MVP after averaging 14.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 36 games.
Cooks’ trademark is his rebound, although Unseld said the 27-year-old stands out for his intangibles.
“A lot of it is his engine,” Unseld said. “He plays with a level of physicality and power. He gives you second ownership, plays downhill. . . . So he does a little bit of everything. But the fact that he can affect the game in some of these intangible ways makes him really fascinating.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/03/17/wizards-cavaliers-playoff-race/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_homepage Against another Eastern power, the sorcerers lack cavaliers