WIZARDS (14-29) AT CAVALIERS (12-32)
7 p.m. ET; NBCSWA, FSO
Larry Nance Jr. wasn’t putting much stock into the latest setback for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have lost five in a row and 10 of their past 12 games.
Nance and the Cavaliers aim to rebound from a listless second-half performance when the Washington Wizards visit Cleveland on Thursday.
The Cavaliers were outscored 30-14 in the third quarter on Monday and limped to a 106-86 setback to the New York Knicks, who had lost eight of their previous nine.
Despite the 20-point pasting by a club that is on par with the Cavaliers, Nance wasn’t going to get too down on his team as it endures its growing pains.
“We feel like this is an outlier,” the 27-year-old forward told Cleveland.com. “I’m not looking at our young talent, going like, ‘Man, you guys shouldn’t have let this happen.’ This was a team thing, and if you live on a game-by-game basis here, you’ll drive yourself crazy. So we’re not trippin’ over this game. Everybody has bad days, teams have bad days, and today was one of our bad days.”
Tristan Thompson, who had a career-high 22 rebounds on Monday, shared Nance’s mindset.
“I think people know what kind of team we can be, especially in the first half (with) how hard we played,” the 28-year-old center said. “We’ve just got to string it together for 48 minutes, but I think we will have more energy and effort on Thursday against the Wizards. So no one has to be too worried.”
Cleveland should worry about scoring just 36 points in a demoralizing second half on Monday, shooting 34 percent for the game (32 of 94) and mustering just 15 assists. The young backcourt particularly struggled as rookie Darius Garland and Collin Sexton combined to make 10 of 40 shots while veteran Kevin Love went 4 of 14 from the floor.
The Cavaliers fared significantly better in their first encounter with the Wizards, a 113-100 win at Washington on Nov. 8.
Thompson collected 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Love added 16 and 12, respectively, to highlight seven Cleveland players scoring in double digits.
The Wizards face the Cavaliers having lost five in a row on the road, including the opener of their current four-game trek, a 134-129 overtime setback against the Miami Heat on Wednesday.
Bradley Beal, who averages a team-best 27.2 points, erupted for 38 points on 16-of-24 shooting from the floor. He added nine rebounds and five assists.
Still, Beal felt as though he should have had more than four foul shots on the night.
“It’s kind of sad the way we get disrespected, especially myself getting disrespected like I do, because I attack the basket,” Beal said. “We can look at our last three drives, and I got fouled on all three of them. It is what it is.”
Beal had 20 points and nine assists in the Wizards’ first encounter with Cleveland.
Washington’s Davis Bertans had 24 points on Wednesday, a much different effort than the 2-for-10 performance — including 1-for-8 from 3-point range — he turned in during the previous meeting with the Cavaliers.
–Field Level Media