WASHINGTON -- LeBron James plays nearly every game, but Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue decided the All-Star forward needed a rest day. That meant an opportunity for others to step up in a matinee against the Washington Wizards. Nobody did.
Point guard John Wall had 21 points and 13 assists as the Washington Wizards took advantage of James' absence to record a 113-99 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon.
James missed his second game of the season and the Eastern Conference-leading Cavaliers (41-17) missed their leading man.
The Wizards (28-30) led after each quarter and by as many as 30 points in the second half en route to handing Cleveland its second straight loss and third in four games.
"Our top leader [wasn't] playing tonight. It's another opportunity for guys to step in and relish that opportunity," Irving said. "But our intensity level just wasn't there."'
Lue would agree.
Leading 63-54 at halftime, Washington opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run as forward Otto Porter hit three 3-pointers in the opening two minutes. Soon after, Lue benched his starters. Love, guard J.R. Smith and forward Tristan Thompson played five minutes each in the second half.
"I thought [forward Richard Jefferson] played hard, and I thought [center Timofey Mozgov] kept playing hard and playing tough. That's about it," the coach stated.
James opened Cleveland's three games in four days stretch with 25 points in 40 minutes in a 99-97 loss at the Toronto Raptors on Friday.
Porter scored 21 points and matched his career-high with four 3-pointers for the Wizards, winners of two straight. Guard Bradley Beal had 17 points.
All of Porter's 3-pointers came in the third quarter and he scored 15 points in the period, one less than the Cavaliers. The margin ballooned to 30 at 111-81 before Washington's ninth sellout of the season.
"I knew we were going to come out with a lot of intensity whether LeBron played or not," Wall said. "It's a big game against a tough team."
Washington is 5-2 since returning from the All-Star break.
The Cavaliers fell to 0-2 this season without James and 3-12 when he sits since the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player returned to Cleveland before the 2014-15 season.
The Wizards didn't swing and miss at yet another opportunity against a depleted opponent. Washington's previous two losses, both on the road, came against teams without their best players. The Miami Heat survived without guard Dwayne Wade and forward Chris Bosh while the Chicago Bulls dumped the Wizards 109-104 Wednesday without guards Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler.
Cleveland opened the game leading 13-6 as Irving and Love combined for its first 11 points, but Washington zoomed in front 35-28 after the first quarter and 63-54 at halftime. Wall scored 18 points in the first half.
"He's been locked in here more recently, "Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of Wall, who recorded his 34th double-double of the season. "That trickles down."
That their play isn't trending up is of concern for the Cavaliers.
"Should be extremely high," Smith said. "We can't play basketball like this going down the stretch. ... After losing a game to the No. 2 team in the East and then you come out and get trashed, make it look good at the end. We can't do that. If we're serious about who we're supposed to be, we can't do this."
NOTES: Cleveland won six of its previous seven games in Washington, including 121-115 on Jan. 6. The Wizards triumphed 97-85 in Cleveland on Dec. 1. ... F J.J. Hickson was active for the first time since Washington signed the veteran free agent Thursday. In Friday's 103-94 win at Philadelphia, Hickson became the first healthy scratch of the season for the injury-plagued Wizards in 57 games. ... Cavaliers F Richard Jefferson replaced LeBron James to make his fourth start of the season. ... Cleveland visits the Indiana Pacers on Monday. The Cavaliers lead the season series 2-0. ... Washington hosts Philadelphia on Monday after defeating the 76ers on the road Friday, 103-94. ... Five-time world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. sat courtside.