Strus, Cavs put on offensive clinic in rout of Wizards
CLEVELAND (AP) — Max Strus scored 24 points and made his first six 3-pointers as the Cleveland Cavaliers had their highest-scoring game and most-lopsided victory of the season, routing the Washington Wizards 140-101 on Wednesday night to open a two-game set.
Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points in 24 minutes to help Cleveland snap a two-game losing streak. Caris LeVert added 21 points in 23 minutes, and Jarrett Allen had 17 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists. The teams will meet again Friday night in Cleveland.
“This is the style of basketball we wanted to play when everyone was healthy, and we're finding that rhythm now,” Allen said. “The offense runs through me a lot, and teams have to respect my ability to pass and drop off when I have the ball.”
Allen, a 6-foot-11 center who made the East All-Star team two years ago, is averaging 21.2 points, 16.4 rebounds and 6.0 assists over the last five games.
“Jarrett has been phenomenal, he's been a workhorse for the last couple of weeks,” Strus said. “We've got to keep relying on him and keep it going.”
Kyle Kuzma scored 16 points for Washington, which is allowing a league-high 126.6 points. The Wizards, with the third-worst record in the NBA at 6-27, haven’t won consecutive games since Feb. 28-March 2, 2023.
Cleveland had 62-36 rebounding edge, with Tristan Thompson grabbing nine and Georges Niang having eight boards and 15 points off the bench. The Cavaliers shot 53.5% and made 20 3-pointers in 42 attempts.
“They got it done on all levels; on the glass, in the paint, they made 20 3s,” Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “I didn't think we brought the requisite amount of physicality. Rebounding is a mindset and that's got to be a priority for us."
The Cavaliers are 6-3 since learning they will be without point guard Darius Garland (broken jaw) and power forward Evan Mobley (left knee surgery) until February. They made just 18 of 79 3-pointers in their previous two games, but had Strus, Mitchell, LeVert, Niang and Sam Merrill all sink at least three in the win.
“We're trying to play more of the analytics game, since we are down bodies,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “They say you have to find a way to be aggressive and shoot as many 3s as you can. That's what we're doing because we've got guys who can make them.”
There were 14 lead changes in the first 10 minutes, and neither team held a double-digit advantage until Mitchell beat the halftime buzzer with a 3-pointer that put Cleveland up 67-55. Strus had 21 points and made all five of his 3s in the half.
“We’ve been playing with more pace and space on the floor lately,” Strus said. “It’s fun to play like that, sharing the basketball the way we are.”
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA