CLEVELAND — Darius Garland had 24 points and nine assists, Donovan Mitchell had 20 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers never trailed 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 and didn’t allow Washington to get closer than seven points.
Cleveland (45-28) is three games ahead of New York and 4 1/2 ahead of Brooklyn in the battle for fourth place in the East and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Cavaliers’ next two games will be in Brooklyn.
The win secured Cleveland its winningest season since 2018, when it last made the playoffs and was swept in the NBA Finals by Golden State. Starting center Jarrett Allen missed his fourth straight game with a bruised right eye.
Bradley Beal scored 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 and tied with Indiana and Chicago for the final spot in the Eastern Qualifying Tournament.
The Cavaliers made just 4 of 19 3-pointers with Mitchell and Garland combining to miss their first 10 attempts. 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 right knee pain. Corey Kispert scored 12 points and Monte Morris 10 points, but Washington committed 17 turnovers that cost him 21 points.
Cleveland swept the three-game season series.
The Cavaliers are closing in on their first playoff spot without LeBron James on the roster since 1998, but coach JB Bickerstaff refuses to look too far ahead.
“We have to go out and finish what we started,” Bickerstaff said. “That’s our goal.”
Cleveland lost 10 of its last 13 games last season, including two in the qualifying tournament, to finish 44-38 and extend its playoff drought to four years since James joined the Lakers.
Wizards: F Xavier Cooks – named MVP of Australia’s National Basketball League last month – signed a multi-year deal ahead of the game. The 6-foot-8, 183-pound Australian was undrafted in 2018 after graduating from Winthrop. “Xavier has just won a championship (with the Sydney Kings) and had another great season,” said coach Wes Unseld Jr. “He’s done enough to get noticed.” Cooks makes his NBA debut.
Cavaliers: F Danny Green has registered just 41 minutes in five games since signing Feb. 15 after being released by Houston. The three-time NBA champion made 5 of 9 3-pointers with Cleveland. “There are guys who need reps and I’ve spoken to Danny about that,” Bickerstaff said. “I need to give him more five-on-five time.” … F Dean Wade, who has made nine starts, hasn’t played in five of the last six games.
UP NEXT Wizards: Host Sacramento Saturday night.
Riders: Visit Brooklyn on Tuesday night.
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