Washington Wizards (33-24) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (34-22)
When: Thursday , February 22, at 8 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena , Cleveland, OH TV: TNT / Radio: 1500 AM
Wizards: John Wall (Out, Knee)
Cavs: Kevin Love ( Out, Hand )
Cleveland has won each of the first two match-ups this season, but Washington won the final game in Cleveland last season and has won a game on the road against the Cavaliers in three of the last four seasons.
Tonight will begin the first of seven back-to-backs for the Wizards to close the season, as they will play host to the Charlotte Hornets in DC tomorrow night. The Wizards are 9-7 in back-to-backs this season and have won their last three front-end games.
Former William & Mary standout and Canton Charge guard Marcus Thornton signed a 10 day contract with the Cavaliers.
107.4 - points per game
105.5 - points against
46.7 - Field goal %
110.2 - points per game
110.0 - points against
47.5 - field goal %
Keep an eye on:
Contain the King: if Washington hopes to end the Cavs four game winning streak. There is no stopping Lebron James but the Wizards will have to take something away to disrupt the Cavs. In two games against the Wizards, James is averaging 38.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11 assist, all wins, including a monster 57 points, 11 rebound, 7 assist performance in a 130-122 win back on Nov 3rd. James has had is way is an understatement. Since the huge trade, James become even more efficient, averaging 30.5 points, 9 assist, 8 rebounds on 53 percent shooting from the field and a ridiculous 41 percent from three point territory. Washington will have to take something away and live with the result, instead of allowing James to score and create for others, force him to be a scorer or facilitator, difficult I know. Otto Porter Jr, Kelly Oubre, Kieff Morris and Mike Scott all have their work cut out for them tonight.
Cool off JR Smith: Smith has been on a terror since the Cavs overhauled their roster on Feb 8th averaging 16.5 points on 70 percent shooting from the field and 69 percent shooting from deep. He's playing with a renewed confidence after being in a slump for most of the season. Beal will have to keep an eye on him and make him work on defense to cool Smith off otherwise it will be a long night.
Lock in defensively and control points in the paint: In the Cavs two wins over the Celtics and Thunder, they have outscored their opponents 92 to 70 in the paint and are averaging NINE turnovers a game which is mind boggling. The new additions of George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr has made the Cavs more versatile, athletic and selfless, and the payoff has been immediate. The quartet is averaging 48.5 points on 51.4 percent. Washington has to be on a string defensively to limit the Cavs points in the paint, limit the Cavs efficiency scoring the ball and to force more turnovers to potentially capitalize off of. Tough task ahead however things worthwhile don't come easy.