home 2014-15, Blogs, Game Coverage Wizards vs. Cavs Game Preview: Backcourt Royale, Part Deux

Wizards vs. Cavs Game Preview: Backcourt Royale, Part Deux


Washington at Cleveland

November 26, 2014 at 7:00PM
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
TV: CSNWashington
Radio: 99.1FM

Tale of the Tape

[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]CAVS[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]9-4[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]TEAM RECORD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]6-7[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]99.5[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (own)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]102.1[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]96.7[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (opp)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]100.5[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Lost 1[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]W/L STREAK[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Won 1[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Lost vs. Atlanta 106-102[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PREVIOUS GAME[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Won vs. Orlando 106-74[/ezcol_1third_end]

Projected Starting Lineups

[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]CAVS[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]John Wall[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]POINT GUARD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Kyrie Irving[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Garrett Temple[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]SHOOTING GUARD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]LeBron James[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Paul Pierce[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]SMALL FORWARD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Shawn Marion[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Kris Humphries[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]POWER FORWARD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Kevin Love[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Marcin Gortat[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]CENTER[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Anderson Varejao[/ezcol_1third_end]

Last time they met was..

November 21, 2014 @ The Verizon Center. The Wizards won 91-78.

Although most Wizards fans would naturally contend that the Wizards are a better overall team than the Cavaliers, I’m not sure how many predicted this kind of outcome. The 1st quarter was mostly sound defensive rotations by the Wizards. In the 2nd quarter, Kevin Seraphin was demanding the ball from Wall like he was Kobe and Wall was Smush Parker en route to a strong 12 point game. Defensively, he was sending shit back like a high maintenance food critic at a restaurant.

In the third quarter, John Wall was coming down and doing more pullup jumpers than a Crossfitter.

All of the aforementioned gave Washington a 15-point lead going into the 4th. By the time the Cavs shortened what seemed like a 50-point lead to Wizards fans down to single digits, Bradley Beal abruptly ended any hope of a Cavs comeback with a three-pointer.

Other than a scoring run by the Cavs and a couple droughts by Washington, the Wizards thoroughly outclassed and dominated the Cavs. It was beyond just an uneventful performance by the trio of the Cavs (quartet – if you count bench players like Dion Waiters). SPEAKING of Dion Waiters…boy. It feels good to be a Wizards fan these days. Now those little guys that throw the rocks at the throne of a playoff team are on the other side. Waiters jacked up brick after brick as Lebron looked on with the Princeton face of death.

Navigate thy YouTube video to the 1:03 mark.

“Pull-up 3’s when we are down and our offense is stagnant…we frown on that in Cleveland.”

Lebron looks like Doughboy walking away as a kid before that topless dude with the du-rag gave him back his football.


The Spotlight: Wall vs. Kyrie

Well, this matchup is always exciting. Wall, with his tantalizing speed and his twisting turning ability to finish at the hoop, is going up against the ball-on-a-string scorer. At this point, we know the strengths and weaknesses of both players. Bias aside, Wall is the one with a much higher ceiling. Wall has shown flashes of good on-the-ball defense and has a knack for playing the passing lanes.

Irving can definitely increase his efficiency as a shooter, but he likely doesn’t have the body type to be able to consistently finish at the rim like Wall does. Wall’s ceiling is dependent on his ability to consistently shoot the jumper. He has the confidence, its just a matter of differentiating between crazy heat-checks and taking a shot that looks like its been taken in practice 1,000 times…a day. They’ve taken turns in the past outclassing each other, with Wall winning the last couple battles. The Wizards haven’t only won these last two games, Wall has outplayed Irving. The 17-point 3rd quarter outburst is definitely up there with Irving’s 2013 41-point classic at the Verizon Center last year. This time around, Wall flashed a lot of his arsenal, including his pull-up jumper and innate ability to finish through contact.

The consistent issue with Wall driving to the lane or off of the pick-and-roll is his habit of telegraphing passes. Wall excels in passing cross-court, excelling to the point of it being unusual in relativity to his struggles in making simpler pocket passes.

Wall does make an excellent pass here – although there is a little bit more daylight here. Still – one of my favorite Wall plays of the night.

This is important because Wall has the ability to drive by Irving and also confuse him on the P&R. The Cavaliers are content with this because Wall hasn’t been able to make them pay in the situations where he gets free rolling towards the hoop. He can be predictable. When Wall is unpredictable…well…he’s impossible to guard.

Here, he hesitates and then puts on the speed burst and finishes with a skyscraper that can’t be blocked.

Wall sees that the lane is open as Haywood is boxing Gortat out of being able to screen.

Wall showed last game that he is finally picking up on how to use certain angles and be more instinctive. Tonight will be a true test as he goes on the road against a Kyrie Irving that likely had to hear all weekend how he got cooked by Wall like Grandma’s Thanksgiving dinner. The Cavaliers will likely assign a lot more help for the blow-bys and Wall should know this going in. They will take away the driving lanes but still give Wall space to shoot jumpers in spots. Wall has to shoot when the timing is right and know when to call for the screen and when to drive and kick as opposed to drive and draw the blocking foul.

It sounds complicated – but this is the life of an elite point guard. It’s about dictating pace and tempo. There is nothing Kyrie Irving can do individually to stop John Wall. We can spend a lot more time talking about John in this matchup because Wall ends up beating himself a lot of the time more than he’s beat. Wall has the ability to lock down on a guy – as long as he’s not expending too much energy creating difficult shots and looks on offense. Tonight is another litmus test for the young point guard as he has the tools to dominate in one way or another. Since Irving is still adjusting to life with LeBron on offense so we won’t see the usual isolation Kyrie.

We could see a lot of this. Wall will have to stop the ball early to avoid these situations.

If Irving does draw a switch – it will be important to stop him from taking advantage of matchups

And…this is just Wall going left when…well…Irving is on Walls left. Not rocket science.

You know what…why are we even going into such great detail.


Just enjoy watching two of the premier point guards in the league battle. It’s a good time to be a Wizards fan.

Who’s Out?

Nene missed Tuesdays contest against Atlanta, as he was day-to-day with a foot injury. He is questionable for the Cavs game.

The Cavaliers have no injuries to report.

Three keys to a Wizards win.

  • Scoring fast-break points and limiting those same opportunities for the Cavaliers.

I harped on this in the preview for last weeks contest, and the Wizards only had 16 fast-break points. That narrowly outdid the Cavs as they only had 14. I’ll stick with this aspect of the game as a certain level of importance since the Wizards will be playing a Cavs team on the road. A few consecutive fast break scores for the Cavs could get that crowd permanently on its feet in a hurry and the Wizards definitely can’t afford to get in a hole against a Cavs team yearning for any momentum they can get their hands on. Easy points can bring alive a stagnant offense and suck the life out of a visiting team. The Wizards will have to continue to work their half-court offense as well as they did last contest while being able to create more fast-break opportunities. It’s not always about easy layups as much as its about putting pressure on a Cavs defense that just isn’t that good. John Wall needs to get to the line early and often.

  • Bench scoring

Kevin Seraphin had a dominant performance last game as he repeatedly bullied Kevin Love. I don’t expect an encore performance but the 29-0 bench scoring advantage the Wizards had in the first half made a Cavs comeback futile as the Wizards starters got going in the 2nd half with all of the extra energy they had. Porter had a timely six points, along with Andre Miller, whose six points were also timely and on a perfect 3-for-3 shooting clip. Having Beal come off the bench obviously boosts your numbers. The Wizards were a +24 when Beal was on the floor so we’ll take it.

  • Get to the line EARLY and OFTEN. Be selective from downtown

A stat that sticks out from last game? The Wizards dominated and they only shot nine free throws. Yes. They were 5-9 from the free throw line with Wall attempting five of those nine and only making three. The Cavs? 18-23. The Wizards won the contest by 13. The Wizards only attempted 10 three-pointers also, converting 4 of them. The Cavs? 6 for 27. Look at the outcome of the game and then look at these numbers. Now – think about what the Wizards have to do in Cleveland. The Cleveland offense has a bad motor. The Wizards offense has the ability to get rolling against this Cavs defense. If they can get to the line a lot more and slow down a game that will likely have the Cavs looking to score in bunches, the Wizards could run away with another W.

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