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What to watch for in Cleveland Cavaliers vs Washington Wizards

The Cavs will look to take care of business for the second game in a row against the woeful Wizards

NBA: Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers (19-15) will face the Washington Wizards (6-27) in the second game of a back-to-back at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. Cleveland took care of business in the last matchup, drubbing Washington by 39 points. It really was a team effort last time out for Cleveland, with three players scoring more than 20 points and three more with double-digit efforts. The Cavs will look to have similar success tonight and continue to take advantage of a soft stretch in their schedule.

Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washington Wizards

Where: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse — Cleveland, Ohio

When: 7:30 p.m. EST

TV: Bally Sports Ohio

Spread: CLE -10.5

Expected Cavs Starting Lineup: Donovan Mitchell, Isaac Okoro, Max Strus, Dean Wade, Jarrett Allen

Cavs Injury Report: Darius Garland (jaw, OUT) Evan Mobley (knee, OUT), Ty Jerome (ankle, OUT)

Expected Wizards Starting Lineup: Tyus Jones, Jordan Poole, Deni Avdija, Kyle Kuzma, Daniel Gafford

Wizards Injury Report: Landry Shamet (hamstring, OUT), Patrick Baldwin Jr. (G League, OUT), Ryan Rollins (G League, OUT), Jules Bernard (G League, OUT)

What to watch for: Figuring out the bench

Last season, the Cavs were a team that had a great starting lineup and a dismal bench. This season, the Cavs’ starters have struggled to remain healthy but their bench has had more bright spots. The problem that has presented itself is that the bench has several good players, but their skill sets are varying and likely not all scalable against good teams.

Sam Merrill has become a very important spacer, knocking down 43.5% of his threes this season. Craig Porter Jr. has been indispensable as the backup point guard, filling in for Ricky Rubio (who recently retired) and Ty Jerome. Caris LeVert, for some time, was the Cavs' most consistent offensive player off the bench and garnered Sixth Man of the Year consideration. George Niang has disappointed, but he is still averaging 8.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while continuing to be a threat from deep. Tristan Thompson has taken the backup big man role completely away from Damian Jones. Dean Wade has had a weird season and hasn't scored more than three points since December 23rd, but he continues to be an impact player on the glass and defensively.

Once the starting lineup is back to full strength, the Cavs will have to figure out their bench rotations as the trade deadline and the playoffs approach. A game against the woeful Wizards will give some players a chance to show what they can do.

One other thing to watch for is Max Strus. The big free-agent acquisition was in a deep shooting slump for several weeks, but he snapped out of that funk against the Wizards with a 24-point showing on 6/8 shooting from deep. That was just the second time since December 2nd that Strust scored 20 points in a game. With Garland out a few more weeks, getting Strus back to being a knock-down shooter would help the offense out tremendously.

One stat to watch for: Attacking the glass

The Wizards are the worst rebounding team in the league, scooping up under 40 boards per game. Cleveland is 9th, largely due to Jarrett Allen continuing to be a menace as the lone big in the starting lineup. The Cavs out-rebounded the Wizards 62-36 in the last game, with Allen collecting 19 of them all by himself. Even more importantly, the Cavs scored 35 second-chance points on 18 offensive rebounds — a devastating combination for opposing teams.

One quick thing on Jarrett Allen, who garnered trade interest this past offseason: The 25-year-old center has posted a double-double in five straight games while averaging one block and only one turnover per game in that stretch. Allen continues to show that he is still an integral part of the Cavs’ pathway to winning games as an efficient offensive player, good rebounder and multi-tooled defender.