Coach Byron Scott was trying to send a message, and it definitely got through as his Cavaliers rallied from a horrendous start to beat the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night at The Q, 95-90.

When the Cavs came out and fell behind, 11-0, Scott yanked four of his starters with just more than two minutes gone.

"It definitely woke up the starters," Tristan Thompson said.

That was the idea.

"They didn't want to play so I took 'em out," Scott said. "Simple as that. It just got to the point where patience was wearing thin. I got tired of what I was seeing."

Scott retained new starting point guard Shaun Livingston and surrounded him with Luke Walton, C.J. Miles, Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington. In other words, his regular second unit, which finished out the period.

"I respect what he did," said rookie Dion Waiters. "At the same time, I was mad. When I got back in the game, I knew what to do: Just play hard. You can't come out there nonchalant. We're not good enough to do that."

No kidding. Even though the starters recovered and dominated the second and third quarters, 56-32, they still had to survive some big mistakes down the stretch to improve to 22-42.

Waiters led the Cavs with 20 points, Alonzo Gee added 17 and Thompson had 13 points and 14 rebounds. Livingston, taking over at point guard while Kyrie Irving is out three to four weeks with a sprained left shoulder suffered Sunday in Toronto, finished with 12 points and six assists.