CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Cavaliers showed they can win a close game without Kyrie Irving on Tuesday night.
Cleveland played its first game since Irving sprained his left shoulder Sunday against Toronto. The All-Star point guard, who watched the game from the bench with his left arm in a sling, could miss the next month — and maybe the rest of this season. The Cavaliers are 5-10 without him this season.
Cleveland definitely missed its star player in the beginning, falling behind 11-0 in the game’s first two minutes. Waiters did his best Irving imitation with the game on the line by hitting a jumper, converting on a drive, scoring on a dunk and making 6 of 8 free throws.
“Everybody lives for the moment, whether it’s knocking down free throws or hitting big shots,” said Waiters, who hit four foul shots in the final 13.1 seconds to secure the win.
Waiters, selected with the No. 4 pick in the draft, will take on more responsibility with Irving sidelined.
“Coach told me to keep attacking,” he said. “Either to get to the basket or find an open teammate. That’s what I was trying to do.”
Waiters had no explanation for Cleveland’s poor start, which caused Cleveland coach Byron Scott to call timeout and bench all of his starters with the exception of Shaun Livingston, who has moved into the point guard spot with Irving sidelined.
“I can’t really answer that,” Waiters said. “The way we came out was terrible. It just was ugly.”
John Wall led Washington with a season-high 27 points, but the Wizards couldn’t convert down the stretch and have league’s worst road record at 5-25. Cleveland swept the three-game series from Washington, a fact that didn’t get by Wall.
“We got swept by Cleveland and Detroit, who are good teams and everything, but we just felt like we were better than them,” he said. “Instead, we went 0-7, which is tough.”
Wall also had season highs with 14 assists and seven rebounds. Emeka Okafor scored 18 points and had 11 rebounds, while Martell Webster added 17 points, including five 3-pointers.
Rookie guard Bradley Beal, who entered the night as the Wizards‘ leading scorer, missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left ankle.
Cleveland placed six players in double figures. Alonzo Gee had 17, while Tristan Thompson scored 13 points and had 14 rebounds. Livingston and Wayne Ellington added 12 points apiece. C.J. Miles added 10.View Entire Story
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