We’re back! After nine days off due to the All-Star Break, the rested and rejuvenated Cleveland Cavaliers are set to return to the court to host the Washington Wizards. This is Cleveland’s first game at home since they remade their roster on February 8th. Hopefully they give the home crowd a good show.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (34-22) vs. Washington Wizards (33-24)
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Where on my eyeballs? TNT
Cavaliers injuries: Kevin Love (OUT - hand)
Wizards injuries: John Wall (OUT - knee), Tim Frazier (TBD - Nasal fracture surgery)
Three keys to the game:
- What kind of effort will the Cavaliers make on defense? The Wizards aren’t world-beaters on offense, but they’ve been moving the ball unbelievably well since John Wall went out, and Bradley Beal is a bonafide All-Star. They’ve got ball-handlers across their roster and when their shooters are hot, they’re tough to beat. The Cavs have been better defensively since their shakeup, but are not likely to ever be a top-10 defense with their personnel.
- How much closer are the new guys to being integrated into what the Cavaliers do. The Cavs have mostly run basic high pick and roll while integrating a few pet sets from their newbies. They’ve had a bit more time to integrate themselves into what the Cavaliers like to run both offensively and defensively. Keep an eye out to see if what they’re running is a little more sophisticated.
- Is Jordan Clarkson going to keep doing this? Clarkson is averaging 15.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in just 23.5 minutes per game since joining the Cavaliers. He’s doing this on 62 percent shooting from the field and 57 percent shooting from three. Those numbers are obviously hilariously unsustainable - can he still be relied upon if he goes a little cold from the field? That remains to be seen.
It shouldn’t be news to anybody, but the Wizards really don’t have anyone to guard LeBron James with. Otto Porter looks the part of a three-and-d maven, but he’s not particularly hard to move and LeBron has torched him in the past. Markieff Morris will likely also get a chance at James, but whoever spends the most time on him will be in trouble.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
It’s really hard to get a read on the Cavaliers right now, but I’ll skew optimistic at home. Cavs 111, Wizards 104.