NBA: Strong finish propels Cavaliers past Wizards
The host Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a game-high 34 points by Kyle Kuzma to grind out a 92-86 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday.
Lauri Markkanen, in just his second game back after missing 11 with a sprained ankle, paced the Cavs with 23 points and six rebounds. The 7-footer was 6 of 9 from behind the arc.
Cleveland closed the game on a 17-2 run in the last 5:22.
Cedi Osman finished with 19 points and five assists, while center Jarrett Allen contributed 18 points and 14 rebounds and forward Evan Mobley added 14 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
Daniel Gafford had 14 points and seven assists for Washington, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 13 points and three assists.
Allen’s dunk with 3:10 to play gave the Cavs an 85-84 lead they never relinquished. He followed that with two free throws to cap a 12-0 run.
Kuzma’s mid-range jumper snapped a scoreless streak of almost 5 minutes by Washington and pulled the Wizards to 87-86.
"We play as hard as we can every possession and having [the fans] behind us gives us an extra boost."#LetEmKnow pic.twitter.com/2mFKqDaQPy
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) February 27, 2022
Free throws by Brandon Goodwin and Evan Mobley iced the contest down the stretch for the Cavs.
Cleveland snapped a three-game losing streak. It has now won eight in a row at home.
The Wizards held a 70-66 advantage after three quarters. Their last points in the third came on a free throw by Caldwell-Pope after a technical foul on Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
Overall, the Cavs shot just 35 percent from the field in the first half, yet trailed by just two points, 42-40. They were aided by 13 first-half turnovers by the Wizards.
Osman paced Cleveland with 12 points and four assists before the break.
Kuzma led all scorers in the first half with 14 points and seven rebounds for Washington.
Washington extended its lead to nine points, 27-18, with about 11 minutes remaining in the first half.
Kuzma poured in eight points in the first quarter to help the Wizards take a 23-18 lead.
The Cavs shot just 31 percent from the field in the opening quarter (8 of 26).
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