The Cavaliers came into Washington DC reeling. The LeBron James-led team had lost four games in a row to middling NBA opponents. They didn't just lose — they got blown out in three of the four games. The margin of defeats were five, 22, 19, and 17. Other than James, no Cleveland player has played with any consistency.

For a collection of players that have never gotten out of the second round of the playoffs, the Wizards sure have a lot to say. Bradley Beal went on ESPN's "The Jump" on Friday and said that he believed that his team was the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

Really? Washington? After finishing fourth in the conference last year and losing to a less-talented Boston team, the 'team to beat' in the East has gotten off to a 4-3 start and lost to the Lakers and Suns in recent games. And tonight, Washington woke a sleeping giant.

Cleveland got off to a blistering start, scoring 42 first quarter points. But defense was optional for both teams as Washington kept it close, netting 36 of their own. While LeBron James dropped 15 points in the opening frame, the rejuvenated Derrick Rose had 13 on an array of acrobatic layups. The hot-shooting trend continued for both teams in the second quarter. But with four Cavs players in double figures, Cleveland went into half-time with a 77-64 lead.

Cleveland maintained a 104-93 edge heading into the fourth, and the Wizards couldn't cut the lead to any more than seven points before losing by eight.

Cavs' game MVP

If you come at the king, you better not miss. And if you're going to talk trash about James and the Cavs, you better come out hard. That means you, John Wall.

LeBron James stepped on the court to dominate and dominate he did.

He had 24 points in the first half and dropped 33 more in the second on his way to a season-high 57 points. He also had 11 rebounds and seven assists, but it was more than just his stat-line that stood out. He came out focused, attacked the basket, and only turned the ball over three times (he had eight in two of the four recent losses).

James can perform like this any night he wants. But it's not a sustainable level of effort that can last until June. His teammates need to show up night-after-night and pick up some of the slack; otherwise James will be taking his talents somewhere else to play next season.

Rest of Cavs' starters

Outside of James, the Cavs' star of the night was Derrick Rose (20 points). With Isaiah Thomas due back in 2-3 months, the Cavs starting lineup and rotation is going to remain in flux. What Rose displayed tonight (with his attacks to the basket) is what the Cavs need from him moving forward. He'll never be what he was before the wrath of his injuries, but he has gained back some of the explosion that made him an MVP.

With Tristan Thompson hurt, Kevin Love was back to starting at center. He had trouble matching up with Marcin Gortat on the defensive end, but was able to contribute 11 points and eight rebounds. Jae Crowder also found himself back in the starting lineup. He battled on both ends of the floor to the tune of 17 points and seven rebounds. JR Smith knocked in one three-pointer for three points.

Cavs' bench

Dwyane Wade? He played only 14 minutes and scored two points. His move to the bench and reduction in minutes had to happen. Wade's game and role are too similar to that of Rose's, except Rose is the better athlete and finisher right now at this point in his career. It's a long season and things can change, but Wade's true value may not come until the playoffs. Jeff Green and Kyle Korver were the top players off-the-bench for Cavs, combining to score 15 points.