Cavaliers Show Resiliency in Fending Off Wizards for Road Win
The Cavaliers took what the Washington Wizards gave them, and for most of the night, that was quite a lot.
But give the Cavs credit for scrapping when it became urgently necessary and not folding when the opposition seemingly couldn't miss.
The end result was 113-100 victory Friday for the season's first road win.
The Cavs started strong, spent some time on life support, then settled down and got back to moving the ball and really defending toward the end.
More specifically, the Wizards cut a 21-point deficit in the third quarter to one. Things looked bleak for the Cavs (3-5). Amazingly enough, though, they never trailed. Not for a second.
"It was good to be resilient and show we could win on the road," Cavs forward Kevin Love told reporters.
Starting center Tristan Thompson was magnificent, scoring 21 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and displaying his usual dose of grit near the basket. Love finished with 16 points on just six shots, and also grabbed 12 boards.
"I'm really happy with what Tristan is doing so far," Love said. "I know he'll be able to keep it up because that's just what he always does."
Those veterans have been getting it done all season -- which is why the highlight of this night was the play of the young guns.
Yes, we're talking about second-year guard Collin Sexton, and rookies Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr.
Sexton finished with 16 and hit another clutch 3-pointer with less than two minutes left. He is starting to make a habit of that. On this night, his three pretty much sealed it.
Garland went for 15 points and six assists in by far his best game as a pro. He was aggressive and confident from the opening tip. And Porter Jr. tallied 11 in the first half on his way to 13 inspirational points.
Overall, seven Cavs scored in double figures, with Cedi Osman contributing 11 points and Jordan Clarkson 10. Osman has clearly improved defensively and has now scored between 10 and 13 points in seven of the first eight games.
The Wizards (2-6) received 23 points from center Thomas Bryant, 21 from rookie forward Rui Hachimura and 20 from Bradley Beal.
Former Cavs guards Jordan McRae (two points) and C.J. Miles (0 points, 0-of-7 shooting) had miserable nights. McRae appeared in 15 games for the Cavs during the 2016 championship season.
Everyone struggled from beyond the arc, as the Cavs finished 6-of-27 on threes and the Wizards were an equally miserable 7-of-31. Difference is, the Cavs didn't let it get them down. At least, not for long.
The Cavs extended a 30-26 lead at the end of the first quarter to 67-52 at halftime.
They stay on the road with a visit to the New York Knicks on Sunday night.