The Wizards managed to sneak out with a victory over the Pelicans last night, and they’ll look to win their third straight game against the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight on the second night of a back-to-back. The game will tip off at 6:00 PM from the Quicken Loans Arena.
Key Match Up:
Ever since firing their general manager, the Cavaliers have started playing some exceptional basketball, trying to make a final playoff push with under 30 games left in the season. Kyrie Irving hasn’t really broke out this season like we all expected him to, but he’s still having a pretty good year. He’s averaged over 21 points and 7 assists in the past five games, four of which resulted in ‘W’s for the Cavaliers. Instead of just focusing on putting up big point totals, Irving is starting to get his teammates more involved and it’s finally paying off. Cleveland is going to have to play some outstanding basketball to knock off one of the eight teams in the playoff picture, but they have shown some resilience.
John Wall is coming off an ‘OK’ game against the Pelicans, but I expect him to be more prepared for his match up against Irving. He has a tendency to take plays off against lesser guards, and that was the case last night against Brian Roberts. Luckily for him, that shouldn’t be the case against Irving. Wall is averaging nearly 21 points and 12 assists in the past 5 games against the Cavaliers , so I think it’s safe to say he’s taken these match ups pretty seriously. He has to do a better job of getting to the basket in the half court, since he still settles for mid-range jump shots. Irving has struggled defensively and he’s probably going to have trouble defending Wall when he’s attacking the basket. It’s important for him to stay aggressive.
- The Cavaliers will likely be without Anderson Varejao tonight. Expect Spencer Hawes, who they acquired before the traded deadline, to start at center.
- Cleveland has a worse offensive and defensive rating than the Wizards. The Cavaliers are 10th in rebounding, but that shouldn’t be the case without Varejao. Washington really should get the win tonight.
Washington has had trouble against the Cavaliers this season, and I don’t expect that to change tonight. The Wizards haven’t gotten many blow out wins this season and I think this game will come down to the wire.
John Wall and Kyrie Irving will almost certainly be a fun match up, but Bradley Beal has to start playing better, especially since he struggled last night against a poor Pelicans squad. Beal is settling way too often for jump shots and he can’t do that against a team that doesn’t have much rim protection like the Cavaliers. Dion Waiters had a terrific game against Washington in the nation’s capital and Beal can’t get outplayed tonight.
With that said, I think the Wizards will win because they have an advantage with their front court. Nene and Marcin Gortat were both outstanding last night, and they typically do well against Tristan Thompson and Spencer Hawes. Washington should shoot better from 3-point territory than they did last night, and I think they’ll sneak out with another win tonight.