When the Cavaliers and Washington Wizards collide during the regular season (and possibly Playoffs) this year, each game could be a knock-down-drag-out affair.
A Sunday afternoon preseason contest? Not so much.
Coach Tyronn Lue rested almost all of his regulars on Sunday, and Washington’s stars got just enough run to help the home squad post a 38-point first quarter and hold the Cavs off the rest of the way – keeping them winless with the 102-94 loss at Capital One Arena.
LeBron James missed his third straight preseason contest, still nursing the left ankle he tweaked early in Camp, and Iman Shumpert is likely out the rest of the preseason with a left foot sprain. But on Sunday, the Cavs also went without Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Jae Crowder, Dwyane Wade and J.R. Smith – who had been Cleveland’s starting five through the first two exhibition contests.
On Sunday, the Cavs fielded a starting lineup of Jeff Green, Kyle Korver, Ante Zizic, Kay Felder and Cedi Osman – with Felder and Osman each logging over 35 minutes of work.
Jeff Green – who starred in D.C. during his college days at Georgetown – was the brightest spot for the Wine & Gold on Sunday, leading both teams with 19 points in the loss, going 8-for-14 from the floor to go with seven boards. The soft-spoken 10-year vet brought his teammates to their feet on a massive left-handed dunk in the first half.
How soft-spoken? Enough to describe his thunderous jam this way: “(You) make the dunk, you take the contact, you go through him and just finish it.”
Coach Lue, who coached Green during his Boston days was more effusive.
”Those are things (Green)’s capable of doing, he’s just got to continue to keep doing them,” praised Lue. “(He’s) very talented, very skilled. I’ve been saying that since he got here Day 1. Very smart. With that second unit, he’s great at getting guys in their spots, knowing all five positions. And when you have guys like that on the floor, it makes it easy for a lot of the guys. ”
Check out Sunday’s stats.
Full final game highlights.
”He played well tonight, attacking the basket, and that dunk was ridiculous.”
Felder chipped in with 12 points, going 5-for-13 from the floor and leading both squads with three steals and 11 assists – six more than Washington’s combined starters. Korver added 11 points on 5-for-11 shooting to go with a pair of picks.
Washington’s starters played the first quarter and gave the Wizards a 38-29 edge after one. The Cavaliers righted the ship in the second period, but a 13-point third quarter put them behind the 8-ball for the final 12 minutes.
The Cavaliers went deep into the bench on Sunday and John Holland emerged from the pack with flying colors – finishing with 14 points, going 4-of-5 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from long-range.
Veteran big man Kendrick Perkins was solid in his 17-minute stretch – finishing with seven points and six boards.
Jodie Meeks and former Cavalier, Carrick Felix, led Washington with 13 points apiece, with Felix going 4-for-6 from the floor. Kelly Oubre Jr. and another former Cavalier, Donald Sloan, chipped in with a dozen points apiece for the Wizards.
The Wine & Gold have two more preseason contests remaining before welcoming the Celtics to Cleveland for the opener on October !7 – with the Bulls coming to The Q on Tuesday night and the Cavs traveling to Orlando for a Friday night affair.