The Cavs had an opportunity, albeit slim, to have an undefeated weekend on the road. The schedule featured a terrible Wizards team without star PG John Wall and a Knicks team that the Cavs have owned this season – owned.
One of the Cavaliers’ five road wins came in Washington earlier this season – part of a 3 game road winning streak. But that game preceded the departures of Mo Williams, Andy Varejao, and the scorched earth campaign of this winter. Also during the intervening season of woe, the Wizards blew the doors off the Q for their first road win of the season – reinforcing the gulf between the Cavs and their own particular brand of horrendous hooping.
Last night, the Wiz came out firing and looking to avoid a home loss in what they knew was a winnable game. Most notably, Andray Blatche, the face of everything that’s wrong with the Wizards, was determined to chuck, and career highs, along with a W, resulted.
Blatche is a joke in Washington – constantly loafing and in the middle of drama with his coaches or teammates. Just last week, there was a front page Washington Post article mercifully requesting that the Wizards finally part with the forward. The man who calls himself Seven Day Dray plays when he wants to, and no one seems to know when that will be.
Against the Cavs, he decided to show up and somehow got off 32 shots – unheard of for a frontcourt player. It led to a career high in points and record high in rebounds for Blatche – 36 and 19, including a ridiculous 16 offensive rebounds. I’ll let Mary Schmitt Boyer put that in some context for you:
The Cavaliers couldn’t get that many offensive rebounds with a ladder. It was a Wizards franchise record, the high in the NBA this season, the most in 14 years and more than doubled Blatche’s career high of seven. It also tied the Cavs’ franchise opponent record set by Chicago’s Charles Oakley on April 22, 1988.
Blatche combined with Javale McGee in the Wizards frontcourt to dominate the Cavaliers in the paint. McGee had 25 points and 8 boards as well as a couple of his patented highlight rejections. JJ Hickson looked good on the offensive end, finishing with 21 and 10, but aside from his contributions offensively, the Cavs were eaten up in the paint. He took responsibility for the record amount of rebounds – “I’ll be the first to say a lot of the reason why they got rebounds is my fault. I was watching the ball and not boxing out. I can guarantee it won’t happen again.”
Jordan Crawford, the Xavier and Detroit product, notched his first career triple double. He became the third Wizard this season, joining Javale McGee and John Wall, to record a triple double. It’s the first time in NBA history that a team has had two rookies record a triple double in the same season.
This was a game that featured end-to-end one-on-one action from Othyus Jeffers and Alonzo Gee, so it was not exactly the game of the night in the NBA. But the Wizards were determined to make headlines with their record setting night of triple doubles and offensive boards. Without Wall, it was definitely discouraging and a missed road opportunity for the Cavaliers.
The Cavs now travel to New York to face a struggling Knicks team that can’t seem to figure the Cavalier puzzle out. Tip is scheduled for 6:00 on Sunday at MSG.