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Wizards add to suddenly souring Cavaliers' woes

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers were picked by many to be an Eastern Conference playoff team.

However, after four losses in the last five games, things are quickly turning sour.

Cavaliers coach Mike Brown is fed up with the lack of effort from his team.

"We didn't compete," he said after his team's 98-91 setback to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday before 16,189 at Quicken Loans Arena. "We had one guy who competed the entire time he was on the floor -- Matthew Dellavedova."

Brown has changed his starting lineup and tinkered with his rotation. He might start drawing straws.

One can be sure of one thing, however. He's not going to sit by idly and do nothing.

"I have to find guys who are going to give it to me," he said. "It's a concern for anybody when you don't go out there and compete and play hard."

The Wizards (4-7) have also gotten off to a slow start. However, after winning their last two games, they are starting to feel better about themselves.

Shooting guard Bradley Beal was outstanding for the Wizards with a team-high 26 points, a season-high seven rebounds and eight assists.

He connected on 6 of 7 from behind the three-point line.

"It was rocky," Beal said. "It's a 48-minute game and we played well for about 40 minutes."

Power forward Nene was a brute with 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

"Down the stretch, Nene hit a couple big ones when we needed to break that ice," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.

The Cavaliers fell behind by 27 points in the third quarter. They outscored the Wizards in the fourth, 32-18. On three different occasions, Cleveland narrowed its deficit to four points. However, it could not get the needed stops.

"We did a pretty decent job defensively," Wittman said. "We gave up 32 in the fourth, but I like what I saw defensively in the first three quarters."

Brown has other problems. He was asked if his players are buying into what he has to say.

"I feel like they are listening and have responded," Brown said. "To go through lulls like this, I'm not going to sit back and just watch it.

"It's a young team. You're going to go through ups and downs with young team."

Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving finished with a game-high 28 points, 18 in the fourth quarter.

Center Anderson Varejao recorded his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

NOTES: Cavaliers C Andrew Bynum came into the game shooting just 34 percent from the field. He made one of three shots for two points in 13 minutes Wednesday. "It's a timing thing," coach Mike Brown said. "The guy hadn't played in over a year." ... The Cavaliers have used five different combinations in the starting lineup. "I can't say anything is temporary or permanent," Brown said. "Nothing is permanent in life, other than taxes and death." ... Wizards Fs Trevor Ariza (strained right hamstring), Al Harrington (sore right knee), Otto Porter (right hip flexor) and Chris Singleton (fractured left foot) are sidelined. For the Cavaliers, C Tyler Zeller (sprained right ankle) was inactive. ... Wizards coach Randy Wittman said C Marcin Gortat has been one of his team's most consistent players since being acquired in a trade from Phoenix. "He's been a big plus for us," Wittman said. "It gives us a big body in the middle."
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