Coming off back-to-back blowout losses, and playing on the second half of a back-to-back, Saturday night was expected to be tough for the Cavaliers. But it ended up being anything but that.
In the Cavs’ 116-101 win over the Wizards, who not too long ago blew out this group, they held a season-best 29 points lead. Collin Sexton scored a career-high 29 points to go along with nine assists. He made three three-pointers too. Tristan Thompson feasted for the entire game, finishing with a season-high 23 points and 19 rebounds. And as a group, Cleveland shot 52.8 percent from the field and 48.4 percent from three. On 31 three-point attempts, the Cavs made a season-high 15.
In a game that could have been all about Sexton struggling against an All-Star caliber guard in John Wall, it ended up being a game showcasing Sexton’s potential. He was decisive as the team’s lead guard and found his shots in different ways — pull-ups, drives, off of screens and whatever else presented itself. Wall, who returned after a one-game absence due to the birth of his child, did look sluggish and not quite himself. Still, what Sexton did was impressive and is exactly the type of game that makes his future exciting.
With the win, the Cavs are now 6-20 on the season. In the win, Larry Drew only played eight players due to four players — Kevin Love, Rodney Hood, David Nwaba and John Henson — being out with injury and Matthew Dellavedova not yet eligible to play. In the coming games, the Cavs’ roster as it currently stands will take better shape. And maybe it won’t be quite as fun as it was against the Wizards. But Saturday’s win showed that the Cavs are capable of more than what they showed against the Warriors and Kings earlier this week.
Cleveland next plays on Monday against the Bucks. The game is likely to be the Dellavedova’s first game back with the Cavs and George Hill’s first game with the Bucks. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. in Milwaukee.