Game On: Wizards-Cavaliers preview

Game On: Wizards-Cavaliers preview
February 7, 2014, 12:00 pm
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The Wizards believe if they can keep the same intensity that they had in beating elite teams from the West such as the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers, they can get a leg up on the Cavaliers in the season series when they meet Friday at Verizon Center (CSN, 7 p.m. ET). 

TV: Wizards Central pregame show on CSN, 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by tip-off at 7 and Wizards Postgame Live immediately after the game. Radio: 1500 AM. 106.7 FM.

Last game: Wizards (24-24) lost to the San Antonio Spurs 125-118 in double overtime on Wednesday; Cavaliers (16-33) lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 119-108 on Wednesday. Season series: Tied 1-1. 

Last meeting: Washington led by 27 midway through the third quarter until a comeback was mounted by the reserves. Four starters for the Cavs combined to score seven points in the Nov. 20 game at Quicken Loans Arena. 

Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Nene, C Marcin Gortat. Cavaliers –- PG Kyrie Irving, SG Jarrett Jack, SF Luol Deng, PF Tristan Thompson, C Anderson Varejao.

[RELATED: Recent history leaves Wizards wary of Cavs]

Entry passes: 1). Defense should do the trick with Irving being the trigger point for Cleveland. 2). Wall has been the best PG in the East all season, but he's a reserve behind Irving for the All-Star Game. 3). When the Wizards protect the ball, unlike in the loss to the Spurs with 16 turnovers, they usually win. 4). The Cavs adjusted their starting lineup with Jack in place of Dion Waiters. 5). Deng gives them a different look but the Cavs are just 5-10 since trading with Chicago for him. 

X-factors: The bench scored 32 points in the last game but outside of F Martell Webster only logged 18 seconds in the last two OT sessions in the loss to San Antonio. ... Beal is playing on a 34- to 35-minute restriction through the All-Star break, and possibly beyond that, too. 

He said it: "We're still playing at a high level. We need to keep it there. As a coach, that's what you always worry about coming off a tough defeat. You want to keep them positive thinking. It didn't go our way but it very well could've a play here or there." -- Wizards coach Randy Wittman

Around the bend: The Wizards are expected to practice Saturday and not shoot around Sunday morning before their game later that day (CSN, 6).

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