After losing four straight games, the Wizards returned to the winning side of things last night against the Minnesota Timberwolves at home. Tonight they’ll have a chance to avenge one of their home losses this season to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Quicken Loans Arena. The game will tip off at 7:00 PM.
Key Match Up:
It’s no secret that John Wall and Kyrie Irving are two of the best young point guards in the NBA, but surprisingly enough, their respective teams have consistently struggled over the past few seasons. NBA pundits have made excuses for both of the guards, but this season both Wall and Irving have to play under the “no more excuses” mantra. Irving got the best of Wall this past Saturday in overtime, where he scored a game high 41 points to lead his team to victory. Although they’re often compared, John Wall and Irving are completely different players since both of them succeed in differentiating aspects of the game. Irving has obviously gained notoriety for his superior scoring ability, but Wall is second in the league in assists per game behind Chris Paul with 9.8.
With that said, Wall has to do a better job at containing Irving tonight. The Cavaliers are one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA and most of their production will inevitably come from Irving. If the Wizards could stop Irving from penetrating, they’ll have a good chance at winning tonight. Irving is great from the perimeter, but cutting off lanes and rotating will stop Irving from getting his teammates going. The Cavaliers go as Irving goes and the Wizards have to do a better job at defending him if they want to get another ‘W’ in the win column.
- John Wall is currently second in the NBA in assists per game (9.8), just behind Chris Paul. He had a career high 16 assists last night with just 1 turnover. Wall has recorded 28 assists in the past two games for the Wizards…with only 2 turnovers in both contests.
- The Cavaliers have the second worst offensive rating in the NBA. They’re 11th in the league defensively.
- Al Harrington missed the past few games due to a sore knee and he could possibly return to the Wizards lineup tonight.
Washington’s defense looked terrific in the second half of last night’s game and that needs to carry over tonight in Cleveland. The Cavaliers aren’t good offensively and if the Wizards could contain Kyrie Irving, this game has the potential to get ugly fairly quickly. Tristan Thompson, along with Anderson Varejao and Andrew Bynum will present problems for the Wizards’ big men down low. It’s clear that Marcin Gortat won’t be the defensive anchor Emeka Okafor was this past season, so the team needs to feel the void collectively. Nene has done a tremendous job defensively these past few games and that needs to continue tonight if the Wizards want to pick up a road win.
The Wizards are coming off a great win against Minnesota and I expect them to be ready in Cleveland tonight. John Wall has done a great job getting his teammates involved and we’ve seen better production from the team lately. I think the Wizards will be able to sneak out with a victory tonight with the momentum on their side.