John Wall is hyping this one up vs the Cleveland Cavaliers

Feb 20, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) dribbles the ball as Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) defends in the first quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 20, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) dribbles the ball as Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) defends in the first quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With the All-Star break approaching, teams are starting to feel each game has added urgency. John Wall had some strong words to say about tonight’s matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There’s generally not much glitz and glamour in a February 6 regular season game. I’m still not reading too much into this one, but the Cleveland Cavaliers have to show up for the games on their schedule. Tonight is going to be an intriguing game where Kyrie Irving needs to show his competitiveness on the money end of the floor against John Wall.

The Washington Wizards are the hottest team in the league right now, and their floor general is the reason why. Wall and company had a rough start to the season, but they have turned it around big time.

Washington is now third in the Eastern Conference with a 30-20 record, and are 9-1 in their last ten contests.

Nov 11, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots the ball as Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert (4) defends in the second quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 11, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots the ball as Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert (4) defends in the second quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Wall Has Been Dominant

Wall is playing with his hair on fire, boasting career-bests in both field goal percentage (45.9 percent)  and effective field goal percentage at 48.9 percent.

This has translated to a significant uplift in his scoring output, which is now 23 points per contest. He has also taken full reigns of this Wizards offense, and dishing out a career-high 10.4 helpers per night. This Washington team feeds off of Wall’s energy and playmaking ability in the open floor, and his 2.2 steals per game really infuse their fastbreak-oriented pace to their offense. They have the sixth-most fastbreak production in the league at 15.3 points per contest, according to teamrankings.com.

He’s been on a different level in the last few months, and he’s trying to show what his team has. Wall recognizes that the rest of the league doesn’t necessarily consider his team one of the league’s best. They haven’t been able to have sustained success with Wall as their focal point, only reaching the playoffs twice in his tenure.

This season could have a different result, though, as Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal have seemed to play much more consistently together this season.

Wall’s Message

With the Cavs being the undisputed “Beast in the East” with Kyrie, LeBron, and company, Wall is trying to get this one some publicity. He told Wizards Beat Reporter Chris Miller that this is, in fact, the “biggest regular season game of his career.”

The bottom line? This is a big game between two top-tier teams in the East, and the Cavs need to have consistent play at both ends of the floor. I will be interested to see if Kyrie can not only get after Wall with his usual highlight tapes on offense, but play sound defense in spots as well on the speedy playmaker. I love Kyrie as much as any Cleveland sports aficionado, and that will never waver, especially not in regards to what happens in a February game. That said, when I see him a bit unwilling to take on defensive challenges against competitors the likes of Wall, it makes me a little frustrated. On ball defense, more or less, is about want to, and I believe Irving can be an effective defender on a nightly basis.

You see him make those trademark steals going the other way every game. However, when you see a player of similar talent at his position call this game “the biggest one of his career,” I can’t help but to think of Irving showing more consistent effort to get after it on the defensive end of the floor.

If he is ever going to be the guy when LeBron walks off into the proverbial sunset, Irving is going to need to demonstrate that he’s willing to compete on both ends every night. That’s what I took from Wall’s comments. We shall see. I’m watchin’ you Uncle Drew.

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