WASHINGTON (AP) - Luke Harangody had a one-night audition as an NBA starter thanks to the compact scheduling in the lockout-shortened season, and he capitalized on the chance.
Harangody had 16 points and 10 rebounds, leading six Cavaliers players in double figures as Cleveland beat the Washington Wizards 98-89 on Saturday night. Harangody played for Canton of the D-League on Friday night and he'll play for the Charge again on Sunday.
``He was the MVP tonight,' Cleveland coach Byron Scott said.
Anthony Parker had 15 points, Tristan Thompson 14 and Donald Sloan had a career-high 13 points to help Cleveland win a game featuring teams that had combined to lose 23 of their 28 coming in. Alonzo Gee had 11 points and Lester Hudson scored 10.
Scott told Harangody that he was getting his first NBA start after warmups. Harangody was recalled from Canton earlier in the day because Scott wanted to rest 35-year-old Antawn Jamison in the middle game of a stretch of three in three nights.
``I saw a guy who just looked real comfortable,' Scott said.
Harangody was sent to Canton on March 6, and found out late Friday night that he was coming to Washington. He caught an early flight, slept a few hours, and then shot 6 for 11 with three steals.
``The last week has kind of just been a whirlwind for me and nothing surprises me now,' Harangody said.
When Scott told him he would start, ``I was like `this is my opportunity and don't try and do anything special, just make the best out of it,'' Harangody said.
Cleveland was already missing rookie standout Kyrie Irving, the teams' leading scorer, who sat out his seventh consecutive game with a bruised left shoulder. Without Irving and Jamison, the Cavaliers' leading scorer was Hudson, who's working under his second 10-day contract. Hudson, playing in his 10th game of the season, was averaging 14.1 in his first nine.
With lots of Cleveland injuries, there are plenty of chances for no-name players. They have seven with D-League experience.
``In order to be an A-lister, you have to have the opportunity. Everybody who's an A-lister has had an opportunity at some point, and they've performed,' Parker said. ``This is a beginning for a lot of our guys. It can carry over for where it takes them in the next couple of years.'
John Wall scored 19 points to lead the Wizards, one night after missing 10 of 12 shots in a 103-65 loss at New York. Jordan Crawford had 18 points and Kevin Seraphin added 15.
The score was tied at 73 early in the fourth quarter before Cleveland took over. Parker made two free throws with 4:24 to go, giving the Cavaliers a 93-83 lead.
``We never had any control of the game,' Washington coach Randy Wittman said. ``Our focus coming out of timeouts was not very good.'
Cleveland shot nearly 66 percent in the first half, but led only 50-43 at the break. The Cavs' 12 turnovers prevented the lead from being even larger.
Washington didn't get any scoring from its reserves in the half. They missed on all of eight of their field-goal attempts.
The Wizards tied the score at 52 early in the third quarter, then watched the Cavaliers build a nine-point lead, before pulling to 73-71 heading to the fourth.
The Wizards were trying to forget Friday's near record-setting performance - when they scored just one point more than their all-time low - in the 38-point loss at Madison Square Garden.
Before the game, Wittman said that the only positive was that his team could play again quickly. He wasn't going to show his team a tape of their 28.7-percent shooting performance.
``I threw that out in LaGuardia,' Wittman joked. ``I didn't even look at it.'
NOTES: Wizards C Nene and F Trevor Booker missed their ninth straight games, both with left foot injuries. Wittman said that he hopes they'll be able to play in a few of the final games. ... Scott said Irving would like to play, but the coach will wait until after Sunday's game with Orlando before he'll consider bringing him back.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved