Wizards comeback but fall short in Cleveland (USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES)
CLEVELAND (AP) - Dion Waiters scored 20 points, Alonzo Gee added 17 and the Cleveland Cavaliers held off a late run to beat the Washington Wizards 95-90 on Tuesday night.
Cleveland played its first game since Kyrie Irving sprained his left shoulder Sunday against Toronto. The All-Star point guard, who watched the game from the bench with his left arm in a sling, could miss the next month - and maybe the rest of this season. The Cavaliers are 5-10 without him this season.
Cleveland led 90-78 with 4:29 remaining, but the Wizards cut the margin to 91-88 with 45 seconds remaining. Waiters, who scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, hit four free throws in the final 13.1 seconds to secure the win.
John Wall led Washington with a season-high 27 points. The Wizards, who scored the game's first 11 points, have the league's worst road record at 5-25.
Rookie guard Bradley Beal, the Wizards' leading scorer, missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left ankle.
Cleveland placed six players in double figures. Tristan Thompson scored 13 points and had 14 rebounds. Shaun Livingston and Wayne Ellington added 12 points apiece, while C.J. Miles had 10.
Wall also had season highs with 14 assists and seven rebounds. Emeka Okafor scored 18 points and had 11 rebounds, while Martell Webster added 17 points, including five 3-pointers.
Wall was the No. 1 pick in the draft in 2010 while Irving was chosen first the following season. The two won't meet this season, as Wall missed the first two games while he came back from a leg injury.
Wall made all 10 of his free throw attempts in the first half. The Wizards were 16 for 16 from the foul line in the first two quarters. Wall missed a free throw on his 11th attempt midway through the third quarter.
The Cavaliers used a 16-7 run to end the third quarter and took a 76-65 lead into the final period. The spurt was sparked by a pair of 3-pointers from Gee, a jumper by Luke Walton as the shot clock expired and a reverse layup by Ellington.
The Wizards scored the game's first 11 points, including three 3-pointers by Webster. Cleveland coach Byron Scott called timeout just over two minutes into the game and benched all of his starters with the exception of Livingston. Washington led 33-20 after one quarter, but Thompson scored all 11 of his first-half points in the second period as the Cavaliers rallied to lead 50-49 at halftime.
Livingston, who was claimed off waivers from the Wizards on Dec. 25, will start at the point in Irving's absence.
Cleveland swept the three-game series from Washington.