WASHINGTON (AP) Adding a win to their White House visit, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers capped a perfect visit to the nation’s capital by beating the Washington Wizards 105-94 on the strength of 14 3-pointers Friday night.
A day after being feted as NBA champions by President Barack Obama, the Cavs improved to 7-1 this season, recovering quickly from their only loss, which came against Atlanta on Tuesday. James had 27 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and Kevin Love finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds.
James clutched at his lower right back after getting fouled with 7 1/2 minutes left, but remained in the game.
Cleveland entered tied for the league lead by averaging 13 made 3s, and it was good on 42 percent of its tries against Washington.
J.R. Smith‘s 17 points included five 3s; one gave Cleveland its biggest margin of the game, at 84-72 with a minute remaining in the third quarter.
Before a sellout crowd of 20,356 that saved its loudest cheers for when two free throws missed by Love meant spectators would be able to get a free fast-food chicken sandwich, Washington also led by as many as a dozen points. That was at 45-33 midway through the second quarter, when Wall made a 17-foot jumper over Love.
But it was tied at 54 with a minute left in the half after Love converted a three-point play by drawing a blocking call on center Marcin Gortat.
The Wizards center, who was hoping for a whistle on Love for charging, stayed on the ground for a bit, then rose and chirped about the call. During an ensuing timeout, Cavaliers substitute Richard Jefferson wandered away from the sideline to discuss it with Gortat right out on the court.
Soon enough, a pair of free throws by Smith capped a half-ending 11-4 run that put Cleveland up 58-56 at the break, its first lead since 8-7 about 3 minutes into the game.
Markieff Morris scored 20 for the Wizards, who played without injured shooting guard Bradley Beal. Otto Porter Jr. followed up his 34-point, 14-rebound effort in a win against Boston on Wednesday with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Cavaliers: At 31, James became the youngest player to reach 27,000 points. Kobe Bryant had been the youngest, about 32 1/2 when he got there. … Smith was called for a Flagrant-1 foul in third quarter.
Wizards: Beal sat out with a tight right hamstring after leaving Wednesday’s game early. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Marcus Thornton, who shot 0 for 5 and scored two points in 21 minutes. … Washington substitute Kelly Oubre Jr. scored the team’s last eight points of the first quarter, which ended with the hosts ahead 31-26.
“A lot of guys were humbled by the experience,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said about going to the White House. “When you get a chance to meet the President of the United States – and he knows your first name and last name, and knows your stats and how you play and who you are as a person – it just means a lot.”
Cavaliers: Host the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. Cleveland won three of four against Charlotte last season.
Wizards: At the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. Wall will sit out for the second time in the second game of a back-to-back set this season, part of Washington’s effort to manage his minutes after offseason operations on both knees.
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