Basketball: Wizards take advantage of LeBron-less Cavs

John Wall handles the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo / Getty Images
John Wall handles the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo / Getty Images

John Wall had 21 points and 13 assists, Otto Porter also netted 21, as the Washington Wizards took advantage of LeBron James' absence to crush the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 113-99.

The loss Cleveland's second in a row as James was rested by head coach Tyronn Lue because of the Cavs' heavy load of upcoming games.

"We made the decision not to play LeBron after the Toronto game on Friday," Lue explained.

"Just having three games in four nights, I just felt today is a good game to get him a break and give him a rest."

The Wizards weren't concerned that James was out, because they're focused on a playoff push.

"We were going to come out with a lot of intensity whether LeBron played or not," Wall said.

"It was a big game against a tough team."

With James watching from the bench, the Cavs trailed 63-53 at halftime, and it got worse.

Porter torched the Cavs for 15 points, including a trio of triples in the first two minutes of the third quarter as the lead eventually swelled to 26.

"I was just moving to the open spot in the corner and knocking them down," Porter said.

Lue threw up the white flag by removing his starters and the Wizards cruised to the lopsided win.

"When your best player is not playing it's tough," Lue said. "It hurts offensively and defensively because you have no floor balance.

"You're not scoring to make Wall take the ball out of the basket instead of pushing it up every time at full speed.

So it hurts you at both ends."

Bradley Beal added 17 points for the Wizards (28-30), who moved within two games of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, with 24 games remaining.

Kyrie Irving had 28 points, while Kevin Love finished with just 12 for the Cavs (41-17), Australian guard Matthew Dellavedova had nine points.

In Detroit the Pistons made it four wins straight with a 114-101 win over Toronto to pull closer to a top eight Eastern Conference spot and were led by centre Andre Drummond, who had yet another double-double with 15 points and 18 rebounds.

Aussie big man Aron Baynes made the most of limited minutes in the win, scoring nine points on three-of-four shooting in 13 minutes on court.

The win lifts the Pistons to a level percentage with eighth-placed Chicago.

The logjam for playoff spots in the East got even tighter with Atlanta recording an 87-76 win over Charlotte, Portland defeating Indiana 111-102 while on the road and Orlando defeating hapless Philadelphia 130-116.

Sixth-placed Indiana are now just half a game clear of the ninth-placed Pistons while 11th-placed Orlando are four-and-a-half wins behind the Pacers.

In other games Miami defeated New York 98-81 on the back of 26 points from Dwyane Wade and Dallas smashed the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves 128-101 as Chandler Parsons led the way with 29 points for the Mavericks.

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