The Cavaliers suffered the absence of Ricky Rubio, who on Tuesday tore the cruciate ligament in his left knee and will be out for the rest of the season, and lost 110-93 against Washington wizards, the Cleveland team’s second consecutive loss.
Without Rubio on the field, nor the starting point guard of the team, Darius Garland, who is on leave due to the covid-19 protocols, and with an improvised starting five due to absences, the Cavaliers did not have the fluidity in attack that has characterized them since the beginning of the season.
The game’s top scorer was Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who had a double-double of 29 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds and 1 steal. Power forward Kyle Kuzma also stood out with another double-double of 25 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block.
The Wizards’ wide lead in the fourth quarter allowed Colombian Jaime Echenique made his debut in the Washington team. Echenique, who signed a 10-day emergency contract with the Wizards today, is the first Colombian-born player to play in the NBA.
In the Cavs he stood out veteran Kevin Love, who added a 24-point double-double, 11 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. Rookie Evan Mobley had 21 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks.
With the losses of Rubio and Garland, to which is added that of center Jarrett Allen, Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff, sand was forced to improvise an unpublished starting quintet, with the team’s third baseman Kevin Pangos managing Isaac Okoro, Kevin Love, Lauri Markkanen and Evan Mobley.
Unknowns on the Cavs
Since this Thursday the severity of Rubio’s injury became known, the two issues that floated in Cleveland were know if the Spanish base teammates had recovered from the moral blow caused by their discharge for the rest of the season and if they could maintain the style that has made them one of the revelation teams of the season.
In the first half of the game against the Wizards, It looked like the Cavs could salvage the junk despite all his casualties.
Right after the start of the game, the Wizards tried to take advantage of the absences and quickly distance themselves from the Cavs. Kuzma opened the scoring with a triple and Beal continued with 2 baskets that placed a 7-2 on the scoreboard thanks to Mobley’s contribution for Cleveland.
The Cavs had tried to punish the locals from the paint but the Wizards’ defense thwarted several attempts by Pangos, Markkanen and Okoro. Y when it looked like the Washingtons were about to take off, veteran Love appeared.
The forward linked 8 consecutive points, 6 of them the result of two triples, which led the Cavs 9-10. During the rest of the first quarter, both teams were on their heels on the scoreboard that when it reached the end of the initial 12 minutes it was 31-30 for the Wizards.
Beal and Kuzma punish the Cavs
The start of the second quarter was similar, with the Cavs slightly behind but not letting the Wizards slip away on the scoreboard. A cash Beal kept Washington ahead every time visitors approached.
When rest comes, the Wizards had moved up 7 points, 58-51, thanks to Beal’s 21 points. On the Cavs, Mobley had 17 and Love 16.
But in the second half of the game, the Wizards increased the pressure on both defense and attack and the Cavs they began to suffer from the lack of understanding of their players, especially when the rotations put on the track emergency incorporations like RJ Nembhard Jr., Lamar Stevens, Dylan Windler or Justin Anderson.
As soon as the third quarter started, the Wizards were 12 points ahead, 63-51. With an unleashed Kuzma who scored 13 points in the period, those of Washington increased the distance to 20 points, 91-71, in the last seconds of the third quarter.
The last 12 minutes were a formality. The Wizards were 21 points up, but in the end, with the benches on the court, the difference was reduced to 17 points from the final 110-93.