Cavaliers 103, Wizards 96 (OT)

Benjamin Standig, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Point guard Kyrie Irving matched his career high with 41 points, including nine in overtime, as the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied for their first road win of the season, a 103-96 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
In a battle against fellow former No. 1 overall pick John Wall, Irving made 14 of 28 field-goal attempts, including four 3-pointers, as the Cavaliers (4-7) snapped a three-game losing streak.
Forward Tristan Thompson had 15 points and 12 rebounds, guard Jarrett Jack scored 13 and forward Earl Clark 11 for Cleveland, winner of four straight over the Wizards (2-7).
The Wizards, losers of four straight overall, led by 15 points in the first half, but Irving's 3-point shooting rallied the Cavaliers before halftime. The lead changed repeatedly in the fourth quarter -- four times in the final 78 seconds of regulation.
After center Marcin Gortat scored the first basket in overtime, giving Washington a 92-90 lead, Irving scored the next seven points -- capped by a 3-pointer with 3:04 remaining for a 97-92 lead.
Guard Bradley Beal had 28 points and forward Nene 24 for the Wizards. Wall had 12 assists and nine points while Gortat added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Both teams entered the first of four matchups this season with three-game losing streaks and potential locker room issues.
Reports surfaced on Saturday afternoon that the Cavaliers held a players-only meeting following Wednesday's 29-point loss to Minnesota. According to an report, the meeting became contentious.
"They had a players meeting after the Minnesota game," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said pregame while deflecting any notion of subsequent issues. "It's not usual; it happens. The guys care about winning. ... They care about trying to do it the right way. They wanted to talk amongst themselves, which is great. I'll encourage that any time."
The Wizards held a meeting on Friday with selected players, including Wall and Beal, after Nene publicly expressed concern about "our young guys" following Wednesday's 92-79 loss at San Antonio. Washington fell apart offensively after trimming the Spurs' lead to three in the second half.
On Saturday, the Cavaliers made 10 of 21 3-point attempts while the Wizards finished 6 of 25 from beyond the arc.
Trailing 87-82, Cleveland scored six straight points, capped by Thompson's putback with 1:18 remaining.
Both sides exchanged free throws and turnovers before Nene split two free throws, tying the game at 90-90 with 23.7 seconds on the clock. Irving held for a final shot, but he never got one up as Nene knocked the ball away on an attempted drive with one second remaining. Washington's final shot did not reach the basket.
After sitting the previous two games, center Andrew Bynum made his second start of the season and scored six points in 21 minutes.
Led by Beal's 16 points, Wall's eight assists -- and Cleveland's 13 turnovers -- Washington jumped out to a 40-25 lead with 6:19 remaining in the second quarter.
However, the Wizards led just 49-44 at halftime and trailed early in the third. Irving scored 15 of his 17 points in the second quarter, made three straight 3-pointers in the final 89 seconds before halftime and put Cleveland up 56-53 with 7:15 remaining in the third following consecutive baskets before the crowd of 18,038.
NOTES: Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 draft, and John Wall, the first player picked in 2010, played in the same NBA game for the first time since April 25, 2012. Injuries kept the point guards off the court in three meetings last season. ... G Dion Waiters (illness) did not play in Friday's loss to Charlotte and didn't make the trip to Washington. ... Wizards F Trevor Ariza did not play. He is considered day-to-day after straining his right hamstring in Wednesday's loss to the San Antonio Spurs. ... Washington hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday before heading to Cleveland on Wednesday, the Cavaliers' next game.

What to Read Next