WASHINGTON: Kyrie Irving had 23 points and 12 assists and Dion Waiters had 24 points off the bench as the Cavs ended a six-game losing streak with a 115-113 victory Friday at the Washington Wizards in the first game following the firing of former general manager Chris Grant.
The Cavs played inspired offensively and did a decent job of defending in the second half. Irving, who missed the morning shootaround because he wasn’t feeling well, had 12 points and 10 assists at halftime. He left late in the third quarter with a sore ankle and briefly headed for the locker room to get his ankle stretched, but returned to finish a game the Cavs controlled throughout much of the fourth quarter until the final minute. Jarrett Jack missed a pair of free throws in the final seconds, giving the Wiz a chance to tie on a long inbounds pass with two-tenths left. But Nene’s over-the-head heave at the buzzer had little chance.
Luol Deng missed the game because he was ill, but C.J. Miles started in his place and scored 18 points. Anthony Bennett had eight points and six assists in one of his better pro games and Alonzo Gee played 27 minutes, his most since playing 34 in a blowout win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 24. That’s also the Cavs’ most recent victory. Gee had 11 points and seven rebounds, including an important putback dunk to put the Cavs ahead 105-96 with 2:50 left.
It was the Cavs’ first game since a humiliating loss at home to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, when the Lakers finished the game with only four eligible players. That was followed by Grant’s firing Thursday morning. The Cavs had lost eight of their last nine.
John Wall had 32 points and 10 assists in the matchup between All-Star point guards and Martell Webster came off the bench to make six 3-pointers.
The Wizards began the night at .500 and the fifth seed in the East, but have been plagued by performances like this. They have beaten the Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors this season, but have lost home games to Eastern Conference weaklings Boston, Detroit, Milwaukee and now the Cavs.