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Wizards vs Cavaliers preview: A “rivalry” renewed

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

When: Sunday, October 8th at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
TV: NBA TV, NBC Sports Washington, Monumental Sports Network

Injury Report

Wizards: Markieff Morris (Out, Hernia Surgery), Tim Frazier (Day-to-Day, Groin)

Cavaliers: Isiah Thomas (Out, Hip), LeBron James (Out, Rest), Iman Shumpert (Day-to-Day, Ankle)

What to Watch For

Can the Wizards establish their rivalry with Cleveland?

If you ask some members of the Washington Wizards, the Cleveland Cavaliers were afraid of last year’s team. According to them, the Cavs believed the Wizards were their biggest threat in the Eastern Conference, and threw games in the final weeks of the season in order to avoid their side of the playoff bracket.

If you ask the Cavaliers, that’s a load of B.S.

Going into 2017-18, the Wizards are desperate to prove they’re no longer the little-brother of the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers don’t really care. It’s a matchup that echoes those of the late 2000’s battles, where the Wizards failed, over, and over, and over, again to vanquish a LeBron James-led Cavaliers team.

A decade later, this year’s Wizards are trying to accomplish what their predecessors couldn’t, and it starts with Sunday’s preseason game.

Can the Wizards’ backcourt take advantage of poor Cavalier defenders?

On paper, John Wall and Bradley Beal should be able to score at will against Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade, who make up the Cavaliers’ backcourt. Neither Rose nor Wade are particularly strong defenders, and as such, Wall and Beal should be relatively unencumbered in orchestrating the Wizards’ offense.

How does Marcin Gortat match up against Kevin Love?

The Cavaliers are shaking things up this season by starting Kevin Love at center. While Love is one of the league’s best rebounders, Marcin Gortat is stronger, taller, and faster, so he should be able to thrive in the pick and roll in this matchup.

The defensive end, hoewever, does present some issues for Gortat. He’ll be tasked with chasing Love around the perimeter, pulling him away from the rim and opening up driving lanes for Cleveland’s guards.

Most Likely Wizard Killer: Avada Kedavra

Avada Kedavra

Colloquially known as the “Killing Curse,” Avada Kedavra is one of the most powerful curses in magic. One of the three “Unforgivable Curses,” this curse is a tool of the Dark Arts, that causes an instant, painless death in its victims. The curse has no counter-curse, and cannot be blocked with magic.