November 21 vs. Cleveland
Feb 7, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) holds the ball as Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) defends in the second quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
The days of a Wizards and Cavaliers rivalry featuring Gilbert Arenas, DeShawn Stevenson, Jay-Z and Soulja Boy are long gone, but the rivalry is sure to be renewed this season with the return of LeBron to Cleveland. Smack talk has already begun between John Wall, Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters over which backcourt is the best in the league.
In head-to-head meetings last season, all four players played particularly well. Beal, Irving and Wall played and started in all four contests, while Waiters came off the bench and only played in two of the games.
Against Kyrie, Wall averaged a double-double with 19.3 points and 10.3 assists per game and earned a +8.7 rating. For Cleveland, Irving held the higher points per game average wit 26.9, but had three fewer assists per game and had a -4.6 rating on the court.
Looking at the other two guards in this debate, Beal was a hot shooter against the Cavs. He averaged 20 points a game on 61.1 percent shooting from three, grabbed 4.3 boards and dished out 4 assits per game. However, he had a +/- of -3. Waiters played well against Washington in his two appearances, averaging 17.5 points a game on 41.1 percent shooting and had a +8.6 rating in those games.
Paul Pierce will look to get back into the head of LeBron James, something he did well during the Celtics’ title run and years after. Although James has had the better of the veteran Pierce lately, you can expect Pierce to continue with his scrappy ways.
The addition of Kevin Love will create an interesting matchup against Nene down low, as both players can stretch the floor while controlling the paint.
Both teams are also sure to be fighting for a top-three spot in the East come April. The first game of the season series should be a good one.