The Washington Wizards have reached a point where every win could be multiplied. Their win against the Timberwolves on Wednesday, paired with loses by the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons, leaped them a half game back of a playoff spot. After a slate of winnable games, the Wizards have a tough test going to Cleveland to face LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
In the previous match up, LeBron sat out against the Wizards in DC and the Cavaliers got run out of the Verizon Center. Lots of controversy and rumors came out after that game, with allegations that Kyrie Irving wasn't happy in Cleveland and J.R Smith questioning the Cavaliers effort against the Wizards. Safe to say, Cleveland will play with an extra chip on their shoulder at home on Friday night..
When: Friday, March 4, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
Where: The Q Arenas, Cleveland, Ohio.
TV: ESPN, CSN Washington.
Radio: WNEW 99.1, THE Radio Party!
Wizards: Gary Neal (Out)
Cavaliers: Mo Williams (Out)
UPDATE: The Cavaliers are resting Kevin Love this evening.
The Cavs will hold out Kevin Love from the lineup Friday against WAS for rest. Fri is the start of 3 games in 4 days for CLE— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 4, 2016
Keys to Success
1. A Statement
It's very often that we hear the Wizards say they took their opponent lightly or that they "played down" to their opponent. It is safe to say, the Cavaliers are not a team that you play down to their level or should take lightly. The Wizards are making their playoff push and have taken care of business. A win in Cleveland would be a huge statement game for their playoff hopes.
2. The Spotlight
ESPN on a Friday night? John Wall vs Kyrie Irving? Every Wizards fan knows, when the stage is the brightest and the country is watching, John Wall will come to play. If he sets the tone, both defensively and offensively, the Wizards will have a chance to win their regular season series against the Cavaliers.
3. Playoff Mentality
Although the Wizards are on a 4 game winning streak, that hasn't necessarily convinced me that they are ready to make a run. Playing the Sixers twice and the Timberwolves was good for our confidence, but this is top tier competition they are going against and must take it like a playoff game.
Potential Wizards Killer: J.R Smith
With LeBron likely to play this time around, there will be an actual distributor on the Cavaliers to get teammates involved. With a variety of weapons, J.R Smith is someone who can drop 30 or give up 30 points on any given night. In the Cavaliers only win against the Wizards this season, Smith went 10-16 from the field with 5 three-pointers for 25 points.