WASHINGTON: The Cleveland Cavaliers launched their push to the NBA post-season on Friday (Saturday in Manila) with a 127-89 pummeling of the Washington Wizards.
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James scored 28 points and Kyrie Irving added 25 with seven assists for the Cavaliers, who have now won 15 of their last 17 games.
J.R. Smith added 15 points and Iman Shumpert scored 12 for Cleveland and James Jones chipped in 10.
With the win, the Cavaliers moved a half-game ahead of the Wizards into fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
It wasn’t the Cavs’ most lopsided victory of the season, but it was a close second to their 39-point win over Charlotte.
Long-range shooting was key. The Cavaliers connected on 14 of their 33 attempts from three-point range while the Wizards were just 1-of-16.
“We’re rounding third base going into the final stretch of the regular season,” James said. “That should be enough of an edge — understanding how important every game is for us to get better going into the post-season.”
The Cavaliers improved to 13-13 in road games this campaign, and they’ll need to bolster that record even more as they play 14 of their next 19 on the road.
“We’ve had our ups and downs on the road like many teams,” Cleveland coach David Blatt said. “This is professional basketball, this is the NBA and this is part of what you’ve got to do if you want to be a top-level team.”
John Wall and Nene scored 18 points apiece for the Wizards, who have now lost seven of their last nine games.
Wall’s layup opened the scoring, but Cleveland scored the next eight points and led the rest of the way.