John Wall missed the Washington Wizards’ first two meetings this season against the Cleveland Cavaliers. As he watched in a sport coat, all-star point guard Kyrie Irving erupted for a total of 55 points and led his team to two wins.
When the Wizards and Cavaliers met for the third and final time Tuesday, it was Wall’s turn to put on a show as Irving looked on from the bench with a sprained left shoulder. Wall posted season highs with 27 points and 14 assists, but any advantage the Wizards thought they had against the Cavaliers was negated by their own loss of rookie Bradley Beal and later Trevor Ariza.
Beal missed his fourth consecutive game with a sprained left ankle and Ariza didn’t play in the second half after hurting his left knee, compromising the Wizards’ depth and contributing to a disappointing 95-90 loss at Quicken Loans Arena.
“It’s tough,” Martell Webster said after finishing with 17 points and connecting on five three-pointers. “Another player is down. One of our key shooters, key defenders went out, and then Brad being out, that’s what happens late in the season. Injuries start to creep up. I wish [Ariza] a speedy recovery, but we’re still trying to finish the season strong.”
Ariza, one of the team’s bright spots the past few weeks, sat with an ice pack strapped to his left knee after the game and later hobbled in and out of the shower. When asked if he would be forced to miss any time, Ariza only said he would “probably not” be available when the Wizards (20-42) host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday at Verizon Center.
With Ariza out, Webster was forced to log heavier minutes and Coach Randy Wittman had to alter his rotation and go with little-used reserve Chris Singleton down the stretch. Down three points in the final minute, the Wizards had a chance to get closer but former Wizard Shaun Livingston fought off Singleton and Nene to grab his own offensive rebound, then beat Nene in a jump ball to set up the decisive free throws by Cavaliers rookie Dion Waiters.
Waiters, who went one spot behind Beal in last June’s draft at No. 4, had 20 points to lead Cleveland, which swept the season series against Washington.
“We just feel like the game was there for us to win, but all three games, they seemed to outplay us, outhustle us for loose balls,” Singleton said.
Washington swept by Cleveland in season series
Washington Post | Mar 13