On Saturday, Wizards point guard John Wall said the opportunity to prove the Wizards are legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference, coupled with his team’s 17-game home winning streak, made Monday’s game against the Cavaliers the biggest regular season game of his career.
The outcome — a 140-135 Cleveland overtime win before a sellout crowd — wasn’t what Wall was hoping for, but it’ll be a long time before he’s involved in a more exciting game. There were 15 ties and 16 lead changes, the last coming on a Kyrie Irving three-pointer with 35 seconds to play in overtime.
Irving’s big shot wouldn’t have been possible if not for LeBron James, who received a long pass from Kevin Love and banked in a three-pointer while falling into the Wizards’ bench to tie the game with three-tenths of a second remaining in regulation.
“I didn’t think I heard him call it,” Wizards Coach Scott Brooks said of James’s bank shot, which left fans in the Verizon Center like:
It appeared the Wizards would escape with a statement win after James got away with a blatant travel and missed a wide-open layup on the Cavaliers’ previous possession. Wall grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made both free throws with 3.4 seconds to play to set up the Love-to-James, Christian Laettner-like final shot of regulation.
James, who fouled out 43 seconds into overtime, finished with 32 points, a career-high 17 assists and seven rebounds.