By MARK NOEL
A Monday, Feb. 6 matchup lived up to expectations from the start, with two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference battling for supremacy. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards gave us a regular season game for the ages.
This epic battle took place in Washington, where the Wizards had won 17 straight in the Verizon Center. The Cavaliers came in knowing they had their hands full with a surging Wizards team, as their Big 3 of Lebron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving had huge games on their way to a 140-135 overtime victory.
Both teams’ star players came ready to play in this nationally televised game. James totaled 32 points and a career-high 17 assists while shooting 6 of 8 from three-point range. With trade rumors floating over his head, Love totaled 39 points and 12 rebounds on 11-of- 17 shooting. Kyrie Irving was quiet much of the game, however, he finished with 23 points and five assists, with 11 of those 23 points being scored during overtime.
As for the Wizards, Bradley Beal had 41 points and eight assists on 16-of- 28 shooting. John Wall came through with 22 points and 12 assists, while Otto Porter also contributed to the team with 25 points on 8-of- 11 shooting, including 5-of- 7 from three-point range.
Heading into the fourth quarter the Cavaliers were up four but the Wizards went on an 8- 1 run to take the lead. It was truly a beautiful back and forth game of basketball in the fourth quarter. With 12 seconds remaining and the Wizards up one, James missed a wide open layup, which he blames on the travel that wasn’t called, causing him to “lose balance.” James made up for his blunder with a turnaround three-pointer off the glass while falling out of bounds to send the game to overtime.
Even though the Wizards lost this game, they have a lot to look forward to in the near future. They have been playing extremely well as of late and this game solidified they can be an elite team in the Eastern Conference. It was a great all-around performance from the Wizards, however, it just was not enough for James and the Cavaliers.
They gave the Cavaliers absolutely all they could handle. It may not show up as a W in the win column but they proved they can play with the Cavaliers. If these two teams meet in the playoffs fans are in for a treat.