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Wizards vs. Cavaliers preview: Washington will try to send a pre-playoff message in Cleveland

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

When: Thursday, March 5 at 8 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio
TV: TNT
Win probability: Washington has a 43 percent chance of winning according to Kevin Broom’s Win Predictor and a 27 percent chance according to FiveThirtyEight.

Injury Report

Wizards: None

Cavaliers: Jose Calderon (Out, Hamstring) George Hill (Day-to-Day, Ankle)

Also of note: Tyronn Lue will return to the bench for Thursday’s game after missing the last nine games with medical issues.

What to Watch for

What message will Washington send in their final meeting?

There’s a good chance the Wizards could face the Cavaliers or the Celtics in the first round, which is interesting because Washington still has to play both teams before the end of the season. Some would argue in a situation like this it’s best to keep your cards close to your chest and save the good stuff for the playoffs.

John Wall does not agree with that line of thinking. Here’s what he had to say when he was asked about resting against Cleveland and Boston, via Chase Huges of NBC Sports Washington:

“I want to play against the teams that are going to be in the playoffs. No offense to the teams that are not going to the playoffs. I want to play against Cleveland and definitely against Boston because those are who we might end up seeing in the playoffs. So, leave a statement there.”

One can only hope if the Wizards do try to make a statement, it’s a good one. The Wizards have lost six of their last eight games, including Tuesday’s 120-104 loss to the Rockets. And let’s not forget LeBron already made quite the opening statement when he dropped 57 in Washington back in November.

A lot has changed since that first meeting though. The Cavaliers have gone through massive roster changes and Tomas Satoransky—who didn’t even play in the first meeting against Cleveland—has emerged as a key contributor for Washington. He had 17 points and 8 assists when the Wizards won in Cleveland in late February.

A random moment in Wizards - Cavaliers history: “That crab dribble had nothing to do with those three steps he took to the basket.”