The Wizards want to avoid paying attention to the recent struggles of the Cleveland Cavaliers because they realize that their problems won’t have much effect on what happens on Friday night at Verizon Center. If anything, the Cavaliers should be considered a dangerous team coming off four double-digit losses straight losses and the recent firing of general manager Chris Grant.
“No, they don’t care about whether they’ve got a GM or not,” Coach Randy Wittman said of his team. “Like I said, this is a capable team with an All-Star. I think he’s a starter. You don’t need to say any more.”
The Cavaliers won’t have newly acquired small forward Luol Deng (flu), but they will have Eastern Conference starting point guard Kyrie Irving, who has scored 69 points in two games against the Wizards. Irving scored a season-high 41 to lead the Cavaliers to a 103-96 overtime when the teams met on Nov. 16. That loss was upsetting for several reasons but Bradley Beal let his frustrations show after Jarrett Jack made a meaningless layup to seemingly run up the score.
“It stung for me, most definitely, but at the same time, it’s over and done with now,” Beal said.
The Wizards have had some success against quality teams this season but have had repeated letdowns against teams that are below them in the standings. Milwaukee and Boston have also come to town struggling and pulled off overtime victories.
“You still have to look at this team as a team that’s capable of winning,” Beal said. “Every team in the league can win games. you can’t come in lackadaisical or thinking the game is going to be easy, because it’s not. They’re going to come in with energy and try to get a win, just like we are.”
The Wizards defeated Cavaliers when the teams met in Cleveland on Nov. 20 but nearly blew a 27-point second half lead as Irving erupted for 18 points in the final period. John Wall said he is looking forward to meeting up with Irving again.
“It’s always fun going up against him,” Wall said. “Everybody looks into the battle to see how we play. If I go in there and play the right way, the way I’ve been playing of playing basketball, finding my teammates and making open shots, playing good defense and taking what the defense gives me, I think we’ll do fine.”
(TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus. Radio: WFED-1500).
Here’s some reading to help you get ready for the game: