By Cardell Dudley
Wizards (16-13) vs Cavaliers (22-8)
When: Sunday, December 17th at 6 p.m.
Where: Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.
TV: NBC Sports Washington / Radio: 1500 AM
Wizards: Otto Porter (Questionable, Hip), Sheldon Mac (Out, Achilles)
Cavaliers: Tristan Thompson (Day-to-Day, Calf), Derrick Rose (Out, Ankle), Iman Shumpert (Out, Knee), Isaiah Thomas (Out, Hip)
The road team won all three matchups between the teams last season and the first game of this season series.
Bradley Beal is averaging 29.3 points per game over the Wizards’ last six games, scoring at least 18 points in each game. Beal tallied 36 points in the Nov. 3 matchup with Cleveland.
Washington is currently 9-6 in games against teams currently at or above .500, they were 4-10 against teams that finished the season above .500 through 29 games last season.
105.4 – points per game
102.9 – points against
45.7 – Field goal %
111.2 – points per game
107.3 – points against
48.5 – field goal %
Keep an eye on
Lebron James: Contain him!!!!! Easier said than done I know. James is having arguably his best season, averaging 28.1 points, 9.1 assist and 8.4 rebounds a game on 57 percent shooting from the field, 40 percent shooting from deep and 77 percent shooting from the line. In the first match-up against the Wizards, James had a career night, posting 57 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assist in a 130-122 Cavaliers win. You’re not going to stop James, however holding him to his average or less, will go a long way towards increasing the odds for a Washington victory.
Limit the OTHERS: It wasn’t just James that killed the Wizards, it was the role players who performed well too. Derrick Rose turned back the clock and score 20 points on 50 percent shooting and Jae Crowder added 17 points and 7 rebounds on 57 percent shooting. With James setting the tone and the rest of the team feeding off him, Cleveland shot 56 percent from the field, 44 percent from deep and an amazing 92 percent from the line for the game. Ironically this game, jump started the Cavaliers run back up the east standings, while Washington spiraled into an roller-coaster 12-9 record since. Lastly, pay special attention to Kevin Love. Love is averaging a double double with 19.3 points and 10.3 rebounds on 47 percent shooting from the field and 38 percent from deep this season, making him a match-up nightmare for teams. Gortat, Mahinmi, Jason Smith and in switches Markieff Morris and Mike Scott will have keep Love on their radar all game long. A favorite target for a James assist, Love can literally win the game for Cleveland if he’s not contained defensively. Washington held him to 11 points in the last game which is promising.
Contain James and lock down the “others” and Washington will be in a good position to win.