By Michael Beaven
Beacon Journal sports writer
CLEVELAND: The outcome Thursday night was not quite what Larry Nance Jr. wanted in his first game as a Cavaliers player inside Quicken Loans Arena.
The Washington Wizards spoiled Nance Jr.’s homecoming by defeating the Cavs 110-103 before a crowd of 20,562.
Nance Jr., a graduate of Revere High School, totaled six points, three rebounds and one steal in exactly 16 minutes of action. Following the game, he met with the media inside the Cavs locker room and said it felt great to play in front of his family.
“It was fun,” Nance Jr. said. “Honestly the second the game got started and I checked in I didn’t realize where [I was]. It didn’t even matter anymore. I was just playing basketball and having fun. But I did obviously hear the crowd when I checked in and that was one of the coolest moments I’ve ever had in my life. It was really cool.”
Nance Jr., who turned 25 on Jan. 1, received a loud applause from the crowd, which included his parents, Jaynee and Larry Nance, his fiancée, Hailey Pince, and his younger brother, Pete Nance. Older sister, Casey Nance, was unable to attend as she was coaching Revere’s girls basketball team.
The Cavs acquired the younger Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson from the Los Angeles Lakers, and Rodney Hood from the Utah Jazz and George Hill from the Sacramento Kings just before the trade deadline on Feb. 8. To get the four new players, Cavs general manager Koby Altman shipped away Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a 2018 first round draft pick to the Los Angeles, Iman Shumpert to Sacramento, Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose to Utah and Dwyane Wade to Miami.
Nance Jr. checked into the Cavs lineup on Thursday with Clarkson with 1:52 to go in the first quarter with the Cavs leading the Wizards 28-18. Nance Jr. and Clarkson joined LeBron James, J.R. Smith and Jeff Green on the court and fans roared with applause.
Nance Jr.’s first basket came with 11:46 to go in the second quarter when he caught an alley-oop pass from Hood and tossed down a two-hand slam dunk to give the Cavs a 33-22 lead. The lead reached 40-29 with 9:38 left in the second quarter when Nance Jr. took a drop off pass from Green and threw down another two-hand slam dunk.
Nance Jr. was asked about his first two field goals at the Q as a Cav, and said: “You know what? I had thought about it and had no idea what my first field goal was going to be. Kind of fitting right?”
The Wizards featured balanced scoring with five players in double figures – Bradley Beal (18 points), Tomas Satoransky (17 points), Kelly Oubre Jr. (17 points) and Otto Porter Jr. (15 points). Markieff Morris, Ian Mahunmi and Mike Scott combined for 25 points.
James paced the Cavs with 32 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Smith (15 points) and Tristan Thompson (12 points) also reached double figures for Cleveland.
“It’s our third game together and Washington is a good team,” Nance Jr. said. “I don’t think there’s any reason to overreact.”
… Cavaliers tidbits …
+ The loss snapped the Cavs four-game winning streak, which included victories over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves (140-138 in overtime on Feb. 7), the host Atlanta Hawks (123-107 on Feb. 9), the host Boston Celtics (121-99 on Feb. 11) and the host Oklahoma City Thunder (120-112 on Feb. 13). Nance Jr., Clarkson, Hill and Hood played in the games against the Hawks and Thunder.
+ In three games with the Cavs, Nance Jr. has 24 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks in 61 minutes and 51 seconds.