John Wall isn’t downplaying this one. As a matter of fact, he called Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers the biggest regular season game of his career:
This clearly isn’t “just another game” as the Wizards host the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night at Verizon Center. The Wizards, winners of seven straight games and 17 straight at Verizon Center, will be looking to put the cherry on top of this current win streak with a win over the Cavaliers.
The last time these two teams met, the Cavs won 105-94 in a comfortable win at Verizon Center on November 11th. That was during the Wizards horrific 2-8 start and as we know, Washington is a different team now.
LeBron James recently grumbled about the Cavs needing one more playmaker. Cleveland is 4-1 since James made those comments, however, Cleveland may be without Kyrie Irving on Monday who is suffering from a sore quad.
After some sluggish efforts against Los Angeles and New Orleans in potential “look ahead games”, expect the energy to be flowing in Verizon Center on Monday.
When: Monday, February 6th at 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: The Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Radio: 1500 AM and Wizards Radio App
Wizards: Ian Mahinmi (Out, Knee), Danuel House (Out, Wrist)
Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving (Game Time Decision, Quadriceps), J.R. Smith (Out, Thumb), Chris Anderson (Out, Knee)
What to watch for
It’ll be imperative that the Wizards take care of the basketball. Washington still ranks in the bottom third of the NBA committing 14.3 turnovers per contest but that number has dropped to 13 per game during this seven-game win streak. If the Wizards are going to win this game, they must value the basketball. Every possession counts in games like these (also in playoff games) plus live-ball turnovers resulting in James’ dunks on the other end will not help the Wizards in what we can expect to be a pro-Cavs crowd at Verizon Center.
Otto Porter vs. LeBron James
The Wizards will throw several players at James but Otto Porter will probably start out on him defensively. Porter has struggled against James over the years (who hasn’t?) but has turned the corner this season as he’s begun producing big games against some of the guys who’ve had their way with him in the past (Carmelo Anthony, Kent Bazemore, Jimmy Butler). And here’s another opportunity to prove he’s worthy of a max deal this offseason.
Porter’s output has slowed down just a hair over the past few games but he’s still shooting a league-best 45.9 percent from three-point range.
Another chance to prove themselves on a national stage
TNT bumped the Knicks vs. Lakers game to pave the way for this one; and here is another opportunity for the Wizards to prove themselves on a national stage. The Wizards buried the Celtics in their “all black everything” funeral game just two weeks ago.
Here’s another golden opportunity to show the Eastern Conference. It’s another chance for the Wizards to show the NBA that they are no joke and could be a major threat come playoff time.
Most Likely Wizards Killer: Kyle Korver
He’s on a new team, but he still knows how to hit daggers vs. the Wizards.