The Cleveland Cavaliers needed a win. They went out and got one.
On Saturday night, in their first home game since the All-Star break, they hosted a Washington Wizards team and won 92-86. This was a Wizards team, who just last night played a double overtime game. And yet, Washington looked like the team with more energy early. The Cavs’ offense, again without Darius Garland and Caris LeVert, was poor early too, managing just 40 first half points and 66 through three quarters. It felt like a night where the Cavs just would not have enough.
But then Cleveland found enough. Lauri Markannen had perhaps his best quarter as a Cavalier, scoring 9 points in the fourth quarter — all on three-point attempts — as part of the Cavs scoring 26 points in the final period.
On defense, the Cavs turned it up an notch too in the fourth quarter. Isaac Okoro was particularly key, as he took over the responsibility of defending Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma down the stretch. Kuzma, who had a game-high 34 points, was 3-6 in the fourth quarter, but missed two key shots late with Okoro defending him. As a team, the Wizards scored only 16 points in the fourth quarter.
The Cavs also had 23 points off of 18 Wizards turnovers. Five of those points came in the fourth quarter.
Markannen led the Cavs with 24 points, while Okoro finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Jarrett Allen finished with 18 points — 8 of which came in the fourth quarter — and 14 rebounds, while Evan Mobley added 14 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Cedi Osman added 19 points off of the bench as well.
With the win, Cleveland improves it 36-24 on the season and in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Up next: The Cavs next play on Monday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. EST in Cleveland.