CLEVELAND — Darius Garland had 24 points and nine assists, Donovan Mitchell had 20 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers never fell behind in a 117-94 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.
Evan Mobley had 20 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots for the Cavaliers. They built a 21-point lead in the second quarter, letting Washington get no closer than seven.
Cleveland (45-28) was three games ahead of New York and 4 1/2 ahead of Brooklyn in the battle for fourth-place East and home field advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. The Cavaliers’ next two games will be in Brooklyn.
The win secured Cleveland its most successful season since 2018, when it last made the playoffs and was swept by Golden State in the NBA Finals. Starting center Jarrett Allen missed his fourth straight game with a bruised right eye.
Bradley Beal had 22 points and Kristaps Porzingis had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Wizards. Washington (32-38) lost for the sixth time in eight games, meeting a tie with Indiana and Chicago for the last East play-in tournament spot.
The Cavaliers made just 4 of 19 3-pointers, with Mitchell and Garland missing their first 10 tries combined. Caris LeVert had 15 points off the bench and Ricky Rubio added eight points and five assists.
Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma had seven points after missing a game with a sore right knee. Corey Kispert scored 12 points and Monte Morris had 10 points, but Washington committed 17 turnovers that cost them 21 points.
Cleveland won the season series by three games.
The Cavaliers are nearing their first playoff berth without LeBron James on the roster since 1998, but coach JB Bickerstaff refuses to look too far ahead.
“We have to go out there and finish what we started,” Bickerstaff said. “That is our focus.”
Cleveland lost 10 of its last 13 games last season, including two in the play-in tournament, to finish 44-38 and extend its playoff drought to four years since James joined the Lakers.
Wizards: F Xavier Cooks – named Australia’s National Basketball League MVP last month – signed a multi-year deal ahead of the game. The 6-foot-8, 183-pound Australian was not drafted in 2018 after graduating from Winthrop. “Xavier has come off a championship run (with the Sydney Kings) and had another terrific season,” said coach Wes Unseld Jr. “He’s done enough to get noticed.” Cooks makes his NBA debut.
Cavaliers: F Danny Green has logged just 41 minutes in five games since being signed on Feb. 15 after being released by Houston. The three-time NBA champion has made 5 of 9 3-pointers with Cleveland. “There are people who need replays and I spoke to Danny about that,” Bickerstaff said. “I need to get him more five-a-side time.” … F Dean Wade, who made nine starts, has not appeared in five of his last six games.
Wizards: Host Sacramento on Saturday night.
Cavaliers: Visit Brooklyn Tuesday night.
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