CLEVELAND--The Cavaliers returned home, but were treated rudely by their guests as the Washington Wizards started fast and held on to defeat the Cavs 127-115 in front of a sell out crowd of 20,652 fans at Quicken Loans Arena.
The loss drops the Cavs to 47-25 and now lead the Boston Celtics (47-26) by just .5 game for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards improved to 45-28 and trail Cleveland by 2.5 games. The Celtics can virtually tie the Cavs for the top spot in the East with a win on Sunday against the Miami Heat.
The Cavs trailed by as much as 17 points in the first half and trailed at the half, 71-61. Washington shot 71 percent in the first half and finished just under 60 percent for the game at 59.8 percent. Cleveland cut the deficit in half to five after three quarters at 96-91. The closest the Cavs could get was when they cut the deficit to four at 109-105 when Kyle Korver hit a three with 7:40 to play, but they could get no closer.
LeBron James scored 24 points, while Kyrie Irving added 23 to lead the Cavs.
John Wall led the Wizards with 37 points, including 24 in the first half.
LeGoggles: LeBron James was questionable before the game with a scratched cornea. He started and played with goggles, but took them off in the first half and played the remainder of the game without them. James led the Cavs in scoring with 24 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. During the game, James passes Mo Cheeks for 12th place in NBA history in assists as he picked up his 7,393rd assist. James finished with eight assists to lead Cleveland.
Off Night: Despite scoring 23 points, Kyrie Irving was just 1-of-7 from three-point range.
Double Figures: The Cavs had five players in double figures with LeBron James (24), Kyrie Irving (23), Kevin Love (17), Kyle Korver (10) and Richard Jefferson (10).
No Shump: Iman Shumpert was a late scratch due to a knee injury.
Three Ball: The Cavs made 12-of-33 from three-point range for 36.4 percent. Kyle Korver was 3-of-6 and Kevin Love was also 3-of-6, while J.R. Smith was 2-of-6.
Passing It: The Cavs had 24 assists and 13 turnovers. LeBron James led with eight assists.
Out Boarded: The Cavs were out rebounded by the Wizards, 45-41. The only player for Cleveland with double figure rebounds was LeBron James with 11.
Next Up: Things will get no easier for the Cavs as they will travel to San Antonio to take on the Spurs on Monday night at 8 pm.