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Feb 24, 2024 6:50 pm

Cavaliers in need of win against youth-movement Wizards

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Washington Wizards will look to snap a 10-game losing streak when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

Still looking for its 10th win of the season with 26 games remaining, rebuilding Washington is using this time to determine who might be a part of its future.

In a 147-106 drubbing at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night– in the second night of a back-to-back — Jordan Poole led Washington with 21 points and Corey Kispert added 20, but both of those players came off the bench.

“We’re still finding our rhythm with (the new rotations). The one positive is you see Jordan getting to the free throw line more,” interim coach Brian Keefe said after Poole hit 7-of-9 free throws. “That shows that he’s getting downhill and attacking, and if we can get our free throws up, that’s a great way to make us more efficient.”

Players getting a longer look included forward Eugene Omoruyi, who scored seven points in 15 minutes, Patrick Baldwin, Jr. (three points, two rebounds in 16 minutes) and 2022 first-round draft pick Johnny Davis (two points, seven rebounds in 22 minutes).

“I thought those guys gave us good minutes,” Keefe said. “Those guys were all in the game when we made a run — I think we cut it to five — and they were all in the game playing good team basketball. So, we’re going to continue to explore our roster and develop them for the rest of the year.”

Washington played without forward Deni Avdija (left heel contusion), who missed his first game of the season.

Cleveland will be looking to right its ship as it continues to lead a pack of teams chasing the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavaliers dropped their second straight game coming out of the All-Star break Friday, losing 104-97 at the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers took a slim lead early in the third quarter and held it the rest of the way against the Cavaliers, who were playing their second straight game without Donovan Mitchell (illness).

“We will be fine,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We didn’t play our best tonight, but give Philly credit. They’ve got guys that can make shots and they made shots down the stretch. But I thought in the second half we played the game the right way. Our defense was pretty solid, especially in that third quarter. So, we’ll be fine.”

Cleveland pulled within three down the stretch, but Tyrese Maxey made four free throws to seal it for the 76ers.

Jarrett Allen led Cleveland with 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting, adding nine rebounds and a block. Darius Garland finished with 20 points and a game-high nine assists, adding five rebounds and two steals. Max Strus added 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

Cleveland saw its six-game road winning streak end and has lost three of four overall. They won 17-of-18 during a stretch in January and early February.

“It’s just a stretch of basketball, it happens to everybody,” Allen said. “We were on a hot streak, we were used to winning, but in the NBA, you lose also. So, we just have to find a way to get back to us.”

–Field Level Media

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