Wizards vs Cavaliers: Rivalry (sorta) Renewed (I guess)!

Jason Miller

Last game of the preseason! Oh em geeeeee. The Wizards tangle with their rival-of-old-and-hopeful-rival-of-old, the Cavs, in Cincinnati.

Baby, if you've ever wondered,
Wondered whatever became of me,
I'm living on the air in Cincinnati,
Cincinnati, WKRP.
Got kind of tired packing and unpacking,
Town to town and up and down the dial
Maybe you and me were never meant to be,
But baby think of me once in awhile.
I'm at WKRP in Cincinnati...

Those are lyrics to the "hit" television show from the 1970s called WKRP in Cincinnati. I spent most of my life in Ohio (Cleveland!), and to this day, I mostly associate the word Cincinnati with this show that was on the air and off the air before I was born. I don't associate it with chili. Or Pete Rose. Or Ocho Cinco. Nope. I associate it with this TV show about a radio station. My brain is weird. (Get a load of that casting, though.)

Basketball!

Where and when? The game starts at 7pm ET at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. The game will not be shown in the D.C. area. If you live in Ohio (and if league pass is up-and-running for preseason games), you can catch it on FoxSportsOhio. If you're a Fireside Chat kind of fan, the game will be on WFED 1500 AM radio (which, I assume, will be the same as NBA League Pass radio tonight).

Are they good? Yes and no. They're definitely better than they were last year, but I don't think that necessarily makes them "good," you know? However, a more germane question might be "Are they a similar level of talent as the Wizards?" And to that I answer, "Yes, indeed." These two teams are pretty evenly matched in youth, flashy PGs, young up-and-coming SGs, Brazilians in the paint--you name it!

Why should I care? Well, if you're like me and grew up in Cleveland and now live in DC, this game is your Super Bowl (Your two favorite basketball teams playing at a neutral location, after all). However, if you are not the saddest human in existence, you should care because these two teams--as stated above--are pretty evenly matched. And many predictions have them neck and neck for those last few playoff spots in the East. Oh, and watching John Wall vs. Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal vs. Dion Waiters, and Anderson Varejao vs. Nene sounds like a lot of fun.

Who's out? The Wizards are still missing Emeka Okafor, Chris Singleton and Otto Porter. The Cavs will be down a few more guys: Tyler Zeller, (Appendectomy), Andrew Bynum, (Right Knee, Possible Humorous Hairstyle), Jarrett Jack, (Left Knee, Sprained Veteran Leadership), Carrick Felix, (Mild Sports Hernia, Awesome Name-itis), Sergey Karasev, (Sprained Left Ankle, Slighty-Less-Awesome Name-itis). (Update at 1:42pm: Looks like Jarrett Jack is reactivated and actually starting tonight, and Dion Waiters is out with a precautionary ankle thingy. Oh, and CJ Miles is out with a precautionary leg thingy.)

What are they good at? They're great at having Kyrie Irving, which means they're great at scoring and moving the ball. Their defense will also be better than it was last year, thanks in large part to the return of Mike Brown and the uninjuredness of Anderson Varejao. Also, Tristan Thompson's scoring and athleticism are going to give the Wizards' Okaforless bigs some trouble in the paint.

What are they bad at? So far, it's hard to tell. I mean, it's not a great sign that they lost to the Bobcats in preseason, but they are a very young team that's prone to making mistakes. Plus, they're implementing a completely new defensive concept this season (it's called "actually playing it"), and that's going to strain them some. And if their new offense is the stereotyped Brownian "give the ball to your best guy then improvise," it might be a long year for them--especially since Kyrie is nowhere near the two-way player that LeBron is/was. Speaking of LeBron, they don't have a great situation at small forward, so expect the Trevor Ariza-Martell Webster tandem to perform pretty well against Earl Clark-Alonzo Gee. The jury is also still out on Anthony Bennett. He appears to have some health and conditioning issues--he was injured, plus he has asthma and sleep apnea--but it's still preseason, obviously. Can't jump to too many conclusions yet.

Who's going to win? This might be a toss-up, but I feel pretty good about the Wizards pulling this one out tonight--if for no other reasons than they want to make up for last night's loss, and they want to end the preseason with some positive momentum for next week. But I fear this may mean playing the starters a lot of minutes.

What are your predictions for tonight's game? Sound off in the comments and vote in our poll!

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