CLEVELAND – Short-handed with Bojan Bogdanovic unable to play because of a sore lower back and Ian Mahinmi sore but available because of his left hip, the Wizards still had more than enough firepower to deal the Cleveland Cavaliers a resounding defeat.
Before tipoff Saturday, coach Scott Brooks didn’t expect to miss anyone but that quickly changed. Bogdanovic, who has averaged 14.8 points and 40.5% three-point shooting, is their best scorer off the bench since being acquired in a trade last month.
The Wizards have Sunday off after a back-to-back set in which they went 2-0 with a game Tuesday at the L.A. Lakers. Bogdanovic should be able to return to the lineup.
“He went through some warmups and his back tightened up on him,” Brooks said. “It was news to me. But we’re building the culture, like a lot of teams are, next man up. Our guys stepped up and played well. You can’t worry about what you don’t have.”
Kelly Oubre received extened time with 26 minuttes to post 16 points and seven rebounds ss well as some tenacious defense.
Mahinmi had a collision with Richard Jefferson in the first half that sent him to the floor in pain. Mahinmi stayed down for a while because Jefferson's knee caught him. He told CSNmidatlantic.com after the game that it was a hip pointer and that he could've returned.
Mahinmi only played nine minutes and didn't score. Brooks opted to use a small lineup with Markieff Morris at the five instead of Mahinmi or starter Marcin Gortat as they pulled away in the fourth.
The Caps found themselves in a tight game in the third period, but a three-goal flurry led to the 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
Here’s a recap of the three bold predictions for the game.
1. Washington will not lead after the first period - Wrong
If you came late and saw the score was 1-1, you may have thought the Caps were looking ahead and got off to a bad start against a non-playoff team. That’s not what happened. The first period was arguably the Caps’ best of the night. It certainly was the most dominant. The game may have been won with a quick flurry in the third, but the Caps got off to a great start and lead Arizona 1-0 after the first 20 minutes.
2. Braden Holtby will allow one goal or fewer - Correct
Arizona had three shots on goal in the first period. Three. That’s not going to get it done against Holtby. The Coyotes made him work for it in the second and third period and finished with 29 shots on goal for the game, but if you spot Holtby a free first period, it’s going to be hard to beat him enough times to get the win.
3. Both teams will combine for fewer than five power plays – Wrong
This game wasn’t any more physical than I anticipated, but it was faster. That led to a lot of stick penalties. Both teams gave up a combined total of eight power plays on Saturday and all of them except Tom Wilson’s double-minor for roughing were stick penalties.
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