The Washington Wizards continue to falter, due largely to an inability to make plays when it counts most.
Trying to avoid a seventh consecutive defeat, the Wizards look Saturday night to continue their home dominance of the Cavaliers, who are hoping to have rookie standout Kyrie Irving available.
Washington (7-28) has been outscored by an average of 10.6 points during its six-game skid, but has had a chance to win each of its last three contests before ultimately coming up short.
After getting outscored 27-18 in the fourth quarter of a 115-107 loss to Sacramento on Feb. 22, the Wizards continued to come up short following the All-Star break. Washington rallied from a 22-point deficit only to fall 119-118 at Milwaukee in the final seconds Tuesday before suffering a 102-95 defeat to Orlando on Wednesday.
The Wizards were within one point of the Magic after three quarters of play but couldn't keep up in the final minutes.
"I think we've been in a lot of games this year, I think we need to start winning them," guard Jordan Crawford said. "All the comebacks and the 'Wizards hung in there, they're a young team', that's old. You can only use that for so long. We gotta start putting wins on the board."
"The thing that we struggle with is in the fourth quarter when (teams) really lock down on us and we gotta execute, I think that's when we struggle and it's hard to get points."
Crawford started Wednesday over Nick Young, who along with center JaVale McGee was demoted to a reserve role due to undisciplined play.
Crawford has been a bright spot during the six-game skid, averaging 20.3 points including a season-high 32 in a Feb. 22 loss to Sacramento. He's likely to get another start after Young left the loss to Orlando in the fourth quarter with a bruised right knee. Young is not expected to play Saturday.
The Wizards should receive a boost from Blatche, who is expected to return after a 15-game absence due to a strained left calf. The power forward was averaging 10.3 points and 7.1 rebounds before he went down.
Washington has won 21 of 26 meetings with Cleveland (13-21) in the nation's capital - including six of the last seven. The Wizards have to like their chances all the more Saturday if Irving can't go.
The No. 1 overall pick in last June's draft missed Friday's 112-91 loss to Chicago with the flu and is uncertain for this contest. With their leading scorer (18.5 ppg) sidelined, the Cavaliers got outscored 82-63 in the final three quarters.
"It's disappointing," said Antawn Jamison, who scored a team-high 22 points. "Against a team like that you have to bring it for 48 minutes. We only did it for 12. It's the realization that we've got a long way to go."
Cleveland will now try to avoid losing five straight for the first time since its NBA-record 26-game skid Dec. 20-Feb. 9, 2011.
Jamison, who spent five-plus seasons with the Wizards before getting traded to Cleveland during 2009-10, is averaging 22.2 points versus his former team - his third-highest mark against any opponent. Jamison has scored at least 21 points in five of his last six games overall.
- Washington Wizards
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Andray Blatche