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It's tempting to say the Washington Wizards routed the Cleveland Cavaliers 115-100 to get their first road victory in 26 tries because they approached the game with a "Game 7" atmosphere. However, I think that's pretty simplistic. Sure, the Wizards tried hard, but effort didn't win that game; talent did.
The Wizards didn't really do much that was that different in this game. Their offensive strategy remained the same. Their defense remained pretty similar. They still tried to push the ball in transition. The only real difference is that, against the Cavaliers, those things worked. Suddenly, Andray Blatche found he could get all the way from the three-point line to the rim. Suddenly, JaVale McGee found he could power through a weak interior defender for a layup. Suddenly, Nick Young found that he was open off screens more often. Suddenly, John Wall found he could beat a team with his speed.
The Wizards have tried these things on the road in other settings, but they haven't worked, and they got down on themselves when they didn't. Last night, those things worked early on, and that confidence carried them to a blowout win. That, not effort, was the difference.
Today's must-reads from around the SB Nation network:
- Bullets Forever recaps the win.
- Casual Hoya recaps Georgetown's important win over Marquette.
- Federal Baseball gets us ready for Nationals spring training. Pitchers and catchers report today.
- Black and Red United discusses D.C. United's offseason additions and how they bring talent in addition to character.
- Hogs Haven has some funny Valentine's Day E-Cards for the team.