Although both the Wizards and Cavaliers have struggled out of the gate, Friday’s matchup is a measuring stick game for Washington to see how they stack up against the defending Eastern Conference champions. This game was circled on the schedule before the season started.
The team will also get their first look this season at Markieff Morris. Scott Brooks said on Thursday he will make his season debut and start on Friday. He was sidelined with a sports hernia to start the season and served his one-game suspension on Wednesday.
It should be a playoff-like atmosphere in the Capital One Arena Friday evening, as there always is when LeBron James and company come to Washington.
When: Friday, November 3 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.
TV: ESPN, NBC Sports Washington
Win probabilities: Washington has a 65 percent chance to win according to Kevin Broom’s predictor and a 66 percent chance to win according to FiveThirtyEight.
Wizards: Sheldon Mac (Out, Achilles), Otto Porter (Questionable, Illness)
Cavaliers: Tristan Thompson (Out, Calf), Iman Shumpert (Out, Knee), Isaiah Thomas (Out, Hip)
What to watch for
Will the Wizards kick their bad habits?
In all three of their losses this year, Washington’s bad habits have reared their ugly head. You know, lack of focus on defense, complacency with a big lead, etc. After every loss this season, the players and coaching staff have provided quote-worthy material to describe the inexplicable loss and it all sounds the same.
Is this the game where they do something about it? Even though the Cavaliers have struggled, it’s never a good idea to come out lackadaisical against LeBron James.
Washington’s three-point shooting
The Wizards have been up and down from three-point range early in this season. Aside from the Golden State and Sacramento games, the team has struggled as a whole from three-point range. Washington ranks in the bottom third of the league in three-pointers made this season however it hasn’t affected their overall scoring as they average 112.3 points per game.
On the other hand, Cleveland has struggled defending the arc this season. Opponents have shot 41.8 percent from three-point range early in this season. If there was ever a remedy for the Wizards to get back on track from three-point range, the Cleveland defense might just be it.
A random moment in Wizards-Cavs history: Caron Butler hits the game-winner in Game 5 of the 2008 playoffs
As expected, there are not a whole bunch of fun highlights between these two teams. However, in Game 5 of the 2008 Eastern Conference playoffs, Caron Butler euro-stepped his way (before the euro-step was cool) for this game-winning shot with Washington facing elimination. The shot forced a Game 6 back in Washington and let’s not try to remember how the rest of the series went. Here, enjoy: