Tristan Thompson laid in the go-ahead bucket with 24.4 seconds remaining and the Cleveland Cavaliers hung on for an 87-84 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday at Verizon Center.
Thompson finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds and Kyrie Irving netted a game-high 26 points to go with six rebounds and eight assists for the Cavaliers, who have won back-to-back games after losing six in a row. Daniel Gibson and Alonzo Gee donated 10 points apiece in the triumph.
Emeka Okafor scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Jordan Crawford netted 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting for the scuffling Wizards, who lost for the eighth consecutive game. Nene gave 16 points and seven rebounds, while Martell Webster contributed 12 points and 10 boards in the setback.
Trailing 79-73 with 6:19 to play, the Cavs ripped off a 9-0 run to snag an 82-79 advantage with 3:36 left. But Okafor nailed a hook shot, then made 1- of-2 from the free throw line with 46.2 left to tie the game, 82-82.
On the ensuing Cleveland possession, Thompson took a pass at the top of the key, drove to his right past the defender and laid it home while getting hit on the arm.
Thompson then completed the three-point play to give the Cavs an 85-82 advantage. Irving split a pair at the free throw line on consecutive possessions around two good free throws from Crawford, who then had a great look at the basket on the final possession of the game, but his potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer hit off the back of the rim, handing the visitors the victory.
"We were able to sneak one out tonight," Thompson said. "Jordan Crawford missed a good shot there at the end. It looked like it was going in, but now we have two (wins) in a row and we just have to keep getting better."
The teams traded baskets early on as a corner 3-ball by Irving made it 11-10 Washington, but the home side created some distance between the teams with an 11-0 surge, capped by an Okafor slam, to give the Wizards a 22-10 margin.
The Cavs answered with seven straight points to slice the deficit to five with 2:12 to play in the quarter, and the Wizards held a 26-22 advantage after one stanza.
It was a one-possession game for a good portion of the second quarter. Irving drained a 21-foot jumper with 1:19 to play before halftime, giving the Cavs a 42-41 advantage and the visitors took a 45-43 cushion into the locker room.
Trailing 53-50 early in the third frame, the Wizards used a 12-0 surge, capped by a three-point play from Crawford, to build a 62-53 advantage with 7:03 on the clock.
But, the Cavs used a 13-4 outburst over the final 5:11 of the quarter to send the contest to the fourth stanza knotted, 68-68.
"We need to start making winning plays down the stretch," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We turned the ball over down the stretch and we won't commit to playing defense."