Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - John Wall and the Washington Wizards made yet another early-season statement, with the standout point guard dropping in 28 points to lead the way in a 91-78 triumph over the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers.
Wall outshined Cleveland's star-studded starting unit by hitting 12-of-20 shots and dishing out seven assists to go along with four steals and six rebounds. His terrific performance, coupled with a strong defensive effort by his Washington teammates, improved the rising Wizards to 8-3 on the young season.
The Cavaliers, meanwhile, are still searching for answers after dropping a third straight game to fall under .500 (5-6). Though LeBron James and Kyrie Irving each deposited 22 points, Cleveland shot a subpar 36 percent as a team and committed 19 turnovers that led to 24 Washington points.
"I was really pleased with our defense," Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said.
Cleveland did hold a 21-17 lead late in the opening quarter behind 11 points from James, but the Wizards scored the next 11 points and Cleveland was never really in it from that stage on.
Paul Pierce had the final five points of a 7-1 run that staked Washington to a 48-35 lead with three minutes left in the first half, and the Wizards shot 52 percent from the floor over the initial two quarters to cruise into the break owning a 55-42 advantage.
Wall totaled 11 points and five assists by halftime, with Kevin Seraphin adding 12 points off the bench.
Cleveland made some brief headway early in the third quarter, closing within 60-53 when Anderson Varejao followed a Shawn Marion 3-pointer with a layup off an Irving give. However, eight straight Washington points -- the final six coming from Wall -- later in the period had the Wizards back up comfortably at 72-56.
The Cavs trailed 80-65 entering the fourth quarter, and any hopes of a comeback were squashed by an awful offensive display over the final 12 minutes. Cleveland went a woeful 3-of-18 from the field and managed a mere 13 points for the frame, while never getting the deficit under double digits until two Tristan Thompson free throws with 2:16 left cut the lead to 86-77.
James went just 2-of-8 after halftime, while Kevin Love didn't score a point in the second half after having eight prior to the break.
"It comes down to figuring things out and being together as a team," Irving said. "I'm confident in these guys."
Wizards guard Bradley Beal contributed 12 points in 31 minutes off the bench in his second game back from a broken wrist ... Washington recorded its first home victory over the Cavaliers since March 3, 2012, with Cleveland entering the game having won its last four visits to the Verizon Center ... The Cavaliers are averaging a mere 88.3 points during their three-game skid ... Varejao finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.