Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washington Wizards: Life without Kyrie Irving begins

USA TODAY Sports

The Cavaliers will host the Washington Wizards, but they'll be without their superstar point guard. What looked like a great matchup suddenly turned into a tankapalooza.

Will we ever get to see Kyrie Irving and John Wall face off against one another? It feels like they've never actually been healthy at the same time. That makes me sad. I want to see them play. Anyway, the Cavs will fight on without Kyrie tonight as they host Washington.

Who? Cleveland Cavaliers (21-42) vs. Washington Wizards (20-41)

When? 7:00 PM Eastern

Where? Quicken Loans Arena -- Cleveland, OH

Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio / NBA League Pass

Enemy/brother blog? Bullets Forever

Follow us on Twitter?

Tickets? Cleveland Cavaliers tickets

Music?

Basketball? Well, kinda

Without Kyrie Irving, a lot of things change for the Cavs. Perhaps the biggest thing that changes is my mindset about individual games. I have previously said that I was done tanking and just wanted to win games to develop some momentum and chemistry for next season. But without Kyrie, I'm not so sure that's the best course of action. Especially in games against teams like the Wizards, would it be better to assume part-time tanking status? Are we back into the mindset of hoping that the young guys play well but the team loses at the last minute? It's painful to do, but it might be for the best. I know that this isn't the strongest of draft classes, but ping pong balls that get us closer to Otto Porter or Nerlens Noel might be worth it.

You can count John Wall as another person disappointed that we don't get to see Wall v. Kyrie.

If you had missed it, Byron Scott said that Shaun Livingston will be the one to start at point guard while Dion Waiters will probably run a lot of point guard with the second unit. That's not the worst thing in the world. It gives Dion more reps and more confidence (as if he needs it).

We're also officially reaching the point of the year where we start (well not start, but really start to focus on) evaluating who needs to be brought back to the team next season. It's time for Wayne Ellington, Marreese Speights, and Shaun Livingston to earn themselves some money. If I had to guess, I'd say that 2 of those 3 players will be back with the Cavs next year. Speights could be one of them, but if he plays his ass off over the last 19 games, he could price himself out of the Cavs range. Byron Scott loves Ellington's defensive effort and Livingston's veteran feel of the game. They can continue to showcase those skills to make sure that their next contracts are worth as much as possible.

As far as Washington is concerned, they've obviously been playing better basketball since John Wall returned from injury. Bradley Beal has stepped up and the obvious comparisons between Beal and Waiters will be really fun/horribly frustrating for the next several years.

The Wizards are a solid defensive team and the Cavs are not. The Cavaliers' improvement this year has come on the other side of the ball. Cleveland has been just outscoring teams and that clearly becomes more difficult to do without Kyrie Irving on the floor. Now would be a good time for Tyler Zeller and Waiters to improve on the defensive end of the floor.

Can we take a second to just reflect on the fact that Luke Walton has actually been playing good basketball for the past month or two? Isn't that kind of incredible?

Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction

Tank city! Cavs will come dangerously close to winning this game, but fall short. All aboard the Luke Harangody tank express! Wizards win 106-97.

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