Very little has gone right for the Cavaliers in the last month. They have lost nine of their last 12 games and now sit just a half-game up on the Heat for the third playoff spot in the East.
LeBron James fully acknowledged just how tough this season has been after practice Wednesday.
“It’s been very challenging,” James told reporters, via ESPN. “Just from the simple fact of how many guys have been in and out. This is a difficult year for our team. Seems like I say that every year, but this one has been even more challenging.”
Ruhwedel collected his first goal since Dec. 18 on a knuckler from the point 2:10 into the game, and Malkin doubled Pittsburgh’s advantage 55 seconds later when teammate Bryan Rust forced a turnover by Gillies behind the Calgary net. Malkin collected the puck and flipped it across the goal line before Gillies could scramble back into position.
The Flames, in the middle of their own fight to stay in the Western Conference playoff mix, tied it before the end of the first. Giordano finished off extended pressure with his 11th of the season and Backlund beautifully deked by Letang before beating Jarry with a backhand for his 13th.
John Wall also had an impressive game, scoring 16 points with 11 assists. Six Wizards scored in double figures, including all five starters.
Andre Drummond led the Pistons with 14 points, 21 rebounds and eight assists. The former All-Star has returned to form this season after struggling last year. Tobias Harris added 17 while Avery Bradley added 15, but the two shot just 2 of 10 from 3-point range.
The win moved Washington (26-20) into fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, while the Pistons (22-22) fell to ninth.
DeMar DeRozan, just named as an Eastern Conference All-Star starter, scored 21 points with seven rebounds and six assists in an 86-83 win over the Spurs. Point guard Kyle Lowry added a game-high 24 points to help topple San Antonio’s stingy defense.