NBA preview: Cleveland Cavaliers host Washington Wizards on heels of loss to Raptors

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers schedule gets a lot tougher now. How will they fare tonight?

Well, that six game winning streak sure was fun. After getting to halftime in Toronto with a seven point lead, the wheels came off and the Raptors took full advantage. Kyrie Irving couldn't get anything to fall, Jarrett Jack was awful. It was a tough game to let slip away because there just aren't very many games left anymore and the Cavs have a lot of work to do to make the playoffs. Things get a lot tougher moving forward. How tough?

Who: Washington Wizards (27-28) at Cleveland Cavaliers (22-34)

When: 6:00 ET

Where: Quicken Loans Arena -- Cleveland, Ohio

How can I watch? Fox Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass

Music:

The Cavaliers are missing Dion Waiters, C.J. Miles, and Anderson Varejao. As Sam wrote, that presents some problems for trying to contain Washington's backcourt. We will see if the Cavs can do it. I answered some questions for ESPN's TrueHoop Washington Wizard's affliate Truth About It to preview this game. You should check it out. Here is a sample:

Mark Twain said "By trying we can easily endure adversity. Another man’s, I mean."

What does adversity make in an NBA locker room…men or monsters?

@DavidZavac: In the Cavs case, the answer appears to be both. Half the time the reports are that everyone hates each other. Then we learn that they are all best friends and they laugh on the court and joke with Mike Brown. It’s bizarre. But Mark Twain also said that we should "dream other dreams, and better!". So I usually just pretend there are no locker room issues, and there is no adversity at all. For Twain also wrote "No sane man can be happy because he believes that life is real." I choose insanity.

The Washington Wizards are an alright team. They have hovered around .500 all year in the (insert disparaging adjective here) Eastern Conference for much of the year. Right now, their 27-28 record would earn them the 5th seed. Their starters, starting with John Wall have been pretty great. Trevor Ariza might actually be having the best season of any of the 3 and D guys teams covet so much. He will be a free agent this summer and it will be interesting to see what he gets offered. The Cavs making a run at him would make sense on a few levels.

Their bench, though, has been a disaster. They signed Eric Maynor in the offseason to be their backup point guard and it was a disaster. At the deadline Maynor went out and former Cavalier Andre Miller came in. It will be interesting to see if he can keep their bench afloat. Otherwise, guys like Wall, Brad Beal, and Nene get tasked with too many minutes, none of whom are a stranger to injuries.

Fear the Sword's fearless prediction: tough loss for the shorthanded Cavs, 92-86.

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