After a long nine-day break, the Washington Wizards will resume play tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Wizards currently hold s slight half-game lead on the Cavs for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, so winning this game could give Washington a bit of separation.
Both teams are rusty, as only John Wall and Kyrie Irving received any action during the All-Star break. The two teams have played two games against each other so far this season, with the Wizards grabbing the first matchup while the Cavs took the second.
Tonight’s game will mark Washington’s fifth appearance on ESPN this season, with one more remaining on the schedule. Both the Cavs and Wizards have seen more nationally televised games this year, but both teams for different reasons.
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While Washington started from the bottom and have worked their way up to the top, the Cavs situation has been a little different. Cleveland made a playoff appearance in five straight seasons from 2005 through 2010, but the departure of LeBron James lead to their downfall, as expected.
After he left his hometown to go to South Beach and play for the Miami Heat, the Cavs finished the 2011 season with the worst record in Eastern Conference. The following offseason, they hit gold in the lottery by receiving the number one overall pick and drafting point guard Kyrie Irving out of Duke.
Although Irving put up very good numbers in both his first and second years, the Cavs failed to accomplish much in those seasons. They grabbed just 21 and 24 wins in 2012 and 2013 respectively, while finishing with one of the three worst records in the conference in both years.
They did a little better in 2014, winning 33 games. But it was clear that Irving did not have the ability to lead a team by himself and that they needed help. That’s when the 2014 offseason came along.
The Cavaliers struck gold in the lottery once again, winning their third first overall pick in four years. They picked small forward Andrew Wiggins out of Kansas, but traded him soon there after for power forward Kevin Love. However, belive it or not, those two moves were not the biggest for Cleveland.
LeBron James decided to leave Miami after four years – making a championship in each and winning two – and return back to his hometown. With LeBron back in town, Cleveland is once again contenders. Although they haven’t performed as expected so far, it takes time to build chemistry, and they are starting to find it more and more as the season progresses.
That will be the challenge at hand for this Wizards team come 8 o’clock tonight. And better yet, everyone from around the country will be able to witness it.