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Cavs rally past Wizards behind Markkanen


AP. Cleveland Cavaliers’Kevin Love (0) puts up a shot against Washington Wizards’ Deni Avdija (9) Saturday night.

CLEVELAND — Lauri Markkanen scored 23 points and All-Star center Jarrett Allen had 18 points and 14 rebounds in rallying the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 92-86 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.

Washington matched the largest lead of the game at 84-75 on Daniel Gafford’s basket with 6:39 remaining, but Cleveland answered with 12 straight points, capped by two free throws by Allen to pull in front for good.

The Cavaliers snapped their three-game losing streak.

“It’s a grinding game that we played, but it still got us the ‘W’ tonight,” Allen said.

“Our coaches really emphasized that this was a game that we needed to get back on track. We’ve got a long ways to go, but this was a step in the right direction.”

Kyle Kuzma made a career-high eight 3-pointers and scored 34 points for Washington, which was held scoreless for nearly 5 1/2 minutes during Cleveland’s comeback. Kuzma’s jumper with 1:11 left pulled the Wizards within 87-86, but they missed their final four shots.

“I think it was more about us than them, honestly,” Kuzma said. “We knew what they were trying to do and accomplish. We just didn’t execute with the game on the line and it bit us on the butt.”

Allen, Brandon Goodwin and rookie Evan Mobley made five free throws in the last 30 seconds to complete the victory.

Cedi Osman scored 19 points off the bench and Mobley had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers. They were severely depleted in the backcourt with All-Star point guard Darius Garland, backup Rajon Rondo and shooting guard Caris LeVert all injured.

“It’s not always going to be perfect and it’s not always going to be pretty, but our guys want to do whatever it takes to win,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

Kuzma grabbed 13 rebounds, Gafford had 14 points and seven boards, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points.

Washington, which completed a back-to-back set after losing to San Antonio 157-153 in double-overtime Friday, is 4-12 since Jan. 19.

“We’ve just got to be better,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “We played 42 pretty solid minutes, but the last six minutes got away from us. Maybe we were just trying to do too much down the stretch.”

Garland (lower back soreness) missed his second straight game and seventh overall with the ailment as the Cavaliers attempt to manage his condition.

Rondo (right big toe sprain) was hurt Thursday in Detroit and will miss two weeks, while LeVert (right foot sprain) is out 1-2 weeks after stepping on a teammate’s foot at practice.

“We’re down a couple of guys, but everybody did their job for us,” Osman said. “J.B. expected all of us to be tougher tonight and we were.”

Markkanen made three free throws to put Cleveland in front 50-49 early in the third quarter, but the Wizards followed with nine straight points, including Kuzma’s sixth 3-pointer.

Washington jumped out to a 27-18 lead in the second, then carried a 42-40 advantage into intermission behind 14 points and seven rebounds from Kuzma. Osman had 12 points for the Cavaliers, who shot 35.4% from the field.

TRAVELING MAN

Cavaliers G Tim Frazier, who averaged 3.7 points in 10 games with the Magic this season, was signed to a 10-day contract.

The 31-year-old point guard has played for Philadelphia, Portland, New Orleans, Washington, Milwaukee, Detroit, Memphis and Orlando in his eight-year career. “He thrives in the 10-day environment, which is not easy to do,” Bickerstaff said. “But he has the uncanny ability to fit right in.”

TIP-INS

Wizards: C Thomas Bryant, who missed the first 41 games after tearing his left ACL last season, was limited to 16 minutes on the second half of a back-to-back. … F Deni Avdija has played in all 60 games. … F Kristaps Porzingis (right knee bone bruise) and two-way G Joel Ayayi were inactive. G Bradley Beal (left wrist surgery) is out for the season.

Cavaliers: F Dylan Windler is on a G League assignment with the Cleveland Charge.

The No. 26 overall pick in 2019 has only logged 93 seconds over the Cavaliers’ last six games. … LeVert is averaging 13.3 points and 3.8 assists in four games since being acquired from Indiana on Feb. 7. … G Collin Sexton (left knee surgery) is out for the season.

UP NEXT

Wizards: Host Detroit on Tuesday night.

Cavaliers: Host Minnesota on Monday night.





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