Cavaliers Preview Game #75 Cavs at Wizards

Cavaliers vs WizardsCleveland Cavaliers (61-13) vs
Washington Wizards (17-58)
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Thursday, April 2, 2009
8:00 PM EST

Here we go again. Another game where Washington fans can get all excited and worked up and refer to LeBron as “LeBaby” and blah blah blah. I for one, as always, am so sick of this fake “rivalry”. But regardless, it is evidently important to Washington fans, so let them have their fun. One thing that’s certain is that the Cavaliers will unquestionably get the Wizards’ best shot on the court tonight, and with a brutal game in Orlando tomorrow night, this is a game the Cavaliers could easily overlook and take for granted. That would be a huge mistake, though. It was the Washington game on Christmas night that first signaled the end of the Cavaliers impressive tear through November and December and marked the beginning of the middle stretch of the season where the Cavaliers would start to struggle to beat teams. It was just a week and a half after that game that the Wizards did indeed beat the Cavaliers on this very court, so LeBron and company need to be ready for this one.  

Projected Starting Lineups

Cleveland Cavaliers:

-G Mo Williams (18.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, 0.9 spg, 17.20 PER)
-G Delonte West (11.5 ppg, 3.6 apg, .392 3P%, 14.18 PER)
-F LeBron James (28.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 7.3 apg, 31.59 PER)
-F Anderson Varejao (8.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 14.52 PER)
-C Zydrunas Ilgauskas (13.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 18.56 PER)

Key Reserves: Daniel Gibson, Joe Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, Sasha Pavlovic

Injuries: Ben Wallace (out), Eric Snow (out)

Washington Wizards:

-G Javaris Crittenton (4.8 ppg, 2.3 apg, 0.6 spg, 10.33 PER)
-G Dominic McGuire (4.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.9 bpg, 11.00 PER)
-F Caron Butler (20.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.4 apg, 18.44 PER)
-F Antawn Jamison (22.4 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.3 bpg, 20.75 PER)
-C Andray Blatche (10.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 15.13 PER)

Key Reserves: Brendan Haywood, Nick Young, Darius Songalia, JaVale McGee

Injuries: Gilbert Arenas (day-to-day), Juan Dixon (day-to-day), Mike James (out), DeShawn Stevenson (out), Etan Thomas (out)

Team Efficiency Stats

Cleveland Cavaliers:

-Off (100.0 ppg, 42.1 rpg, .468 FG%, .755 FT%, 20.2 apg, Eff-109.3, Rank-4)
-Def (90.7 ppg, 39.0 rpg, .428 FG%, Eff-98.7, Rank-1)

Washington Wizards:

-Off (95.6 ppg, 39.9 rpg, .447 FG%, .767 FT%, 20.1 apg, Eff-102.0, Rank-26)
-Def (103.3 ppg, 41.7 rpg, .483 FG%, Eff-111.3, Rank-29)

Previous Matchups

  1. Washington 89 at Cleveland 93 – 12/25/08 [box]
  2. Cleveland 77 at Washington 80 – 01/04/09 [box]

Game Notes

This may sound lazy, but so be it. If the Cavaliers move the ball, they’re going to win this game. The Wizards are just about the worst defensive team in the NBA, and offensively they are marginal at best. It will be interesting to see if Gilbert Arenas plays again tonight (something tells me he won’t miss a chance to play against LeBron and the Cavs in the Verizon Center), but that’s about the only thing intriguing about this matchup.

For the Cavaliers, we’ll be watching to see if Wally Szczerbiak can begin to get his legs under him again, and if Boobie and Delonte can continue to get their long distance shots back on track. But with the injuries the Wizards have faced, they really seem to lack the depth to beat the Cavaliers. They did beat them once by holding the Cavs to just 77 points, an inexplicable feat for such a horrendous defensive team, but it’s hard to imagine them doing it again tonight.

And for all those reasons, the Wizards will probably win tonight. You’re always worried about any game that means dramatically more to one team than the other. For the Cavaliers, the Wizards are just another team. But if the Wizards’ players share the same mentality as the Wizards bloggers, than this game means something more to them. Hopefully the Cavaliers can actually show up to play Washington this season and not repeat the two lackluster performances they have put forth against them so far this season.

We’d also like to remind you folks in the DC area that there is a WFNY meetup from 5-7:30 before the game at RFD ( on 7th Street NW, a block north of the Verizon Center.  If you can make it out, join Denny and other area Cleveland fans to talk sports, Ohio, weather, beer, or whatever you want to discuss.  Denny will be arriving around 5 PM and will be at the front bar which is to the left.  He’ll be updating his Twitter ( to reflect his arrival if you really need updates.

Vegas Line

Washington +10.5
Over/Under 196.5

From The Outside Looking In

Truth About It
Bullets Forever
DC Sports Blog

Next Game For The Cavaliers

Friday, April 3, 2009
8:00 PM EST
Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic

  • Glaumdawg

    I don’t think this game means dramatically more to the Wizards than it does the Cavs. Home court throughout is still on the line and I believe our guys are aware of this and will be dialed in tonight. I know it’s hard, but don’t be so pessimistic!

  • Glaumdawg

    And I hope all of you going to RFD have a good time watching a Cavs win! Wish I could make it…..Drink one for me!

  • Tapin

    Does anyone happen to know of a decent way to listen (or watch, but I’d likely just be listening) to the game on an iPhone? I found the NBA Audio Pass (or whatever it’s called) which works fine at my desk, but it’s WMV-based and therefore iPhone-unfriendly; and even though I was willing to plunk down $5 to listen to exactly ten minutes of March Madness this year with a random NCAA Audio app, there doesn’t seem to be an NBA-sanctioned app that does the same thing.

    I’ve got plenty of Sports-scores-reporting apps (the best of which seems to be Sportacular, especially since it’s free), but none that provide NBA audio or video.

    Anybody? My train ride home thanks you.

    (Also: app.)

  • phil

    Ball movement is always a good thing, but I’d put Z’s performance down as another key to this game. In the Cavs’ loss to the Wizards, the Cavs actually had one more assist (13, to 12 for the Wizards), but Z was out. It’d be a real boost for the Cavs not to see Z have a second lackluster performance in a row.

  • Nicko

    Hopefully it’s not another white out:

    Andray Blatche stood in front of his locker at 6:30, a strip of hair adorning the middle of his head. His early-season Mohawk had returned.

    “I was ballin’ in my Mohawk,” Blatche explained. “We all getting ready to go to war, man. White Out. It’s like milk out there; I’m like a cat. I want some milk. I’m telling you, we’re ready for war, man. White out. Ride together, die together. Bad boys for life. I’m telling you, I was BORN for this.”

  • Jacob Rosen

    Cutler got traded to the Bears!!! The Browns conversation can end again!

    That sounds like a Delonte West quote there Nicko, you sure you got your man right?

  • DrAaron

    Nicko –

    After reading that quote, it looked like something from the Onion or some satirical nonsense. I can’t believe thats for real.

    “I’m like a cat. I want some milk.”

  • Lars

    no intensity 2.5 quarters into this one… oh well. get well ben

  • Lyon

    Love watching Cavs play with no effort…. takes me back to the days before LeBron.

    We also have seemed to revert to our old offense of watching people dribble

  • S-Dub

    maybe the refs could continue to call a foul for the Wiz every 30 seconds…

  • Lyon

    Z has been worthless this game… I think it’s about time he sits down if he isn’t going to do anything on the floor besides show on picks 30 ft from the hoop.

    If there’s anything that will bring us down in the playoffs, it’s our mishandling of pick n rolls. We have no idea how to defend that, and don’t adjust at all during the games.

  • Chris

    Even if the Cavs can manage to pull off the win in the upcoming home game against the Wizards, how pathetic is this, splitting the season with such a poor team. I had a feeling we might lose this one, but the loss is still very disappointing.

  • Eli

    This game was ridiculous. Just take a quick look at the points in the paint for the Wizards. Ben can’t get healthy soon enough because Jackson was a complete waste of space on the court. He got boxed out constantly, rejected consistently, and only managed to hustle after a few rebounds despite having an insane amount of playing time. They drove on us at will, and even had like 20+ fast break points and a crazy amount of easy dunks.

    Our offense was B- this game, but out defense was F-. Anyone notice that Mike Brown had Szczerbiak guarding Songalia for at least 4 minutes. He only gives up, what, 5-6 inches on that guy?

  • Denny

    Tapin – i heart radio app. You can listen to WTAM for free streaming. Live calls straight on your phone. Do it.

    In terms of the game…. turds.

  • CJG

    I am never going to a Cavs game at the Verizon center again. Everytime I go, I get disappointed on so many levels. What are those levels you ask? Let me count the ways:

    1.)Gilbert Arenas: You know those Kobe low-top ads about ankle insurance, with people’s ankle just blowing up? I am waiting for that to happen to Arenas’s knees. I am really confused when DC fans call Lebron overrated….and yet adore Arenas.

    2.) Opening show: Washington’s way of introducing the home team? Dancer’s with flags running in a circle. Cleveland’s? FIRE FROM SABERS!

    3.)Oh, the cavs lose every time I go.

    This game was so disappointing. The Cavs should have won this, without a doubt, but I think its as Rock said, that they overlooked this game and instead looked ahead to tomorrow’s game. Opps. Wally guarding Songalia=bad. Mike Brown benching the starters for the 2nd quarter=terribly bad idea. Offensive rebounding=sad. Darnell Jackson needs to be put in the doghouse for a while, because he was more of a roadblock tonight than a teammate. Ugh. I came to see a playoff-primed team. Instead I saw a good NBA team….which is bad if you want a team that’s going to win a championship. The silver lining here is I hope the Cavs are sobered up by the embarrassment to head to Orlando and smack that team around and send ’em home crying.

  • Mike

    ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHH! we better motherfudge Orlando tomorrow..

  • DCBucks

    0-2. That’s the Cavs’ record when I attend games at the Verizon Center. Sigh.

  • Gregg

    DJ was +12 tonight, the best by far. Windy seems to think he was doing fine. but..

    Joe Smith only played 8 freaking minutes! What was Brown thinking?!

  • Kevin

    The Wiz’s frontline is scary huge and athletic. if they get a top draft pick and add griffin, the guard from Spain, or even thabeet, they could make huge improvements next year. Unless, of course, arenas keeps dragging them down.

    Tough loss at the end of a long season on the road. nothing to see here, move on to next game please.