Washington Wizards will take on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the first time in the 2016-17 NBA season on Friday night.
As long as LeBron James is in Cleveland, the Cavaliers are going to be the top team in the Eastern Conference.
For the first time this season, the Washington Wizards will take on the defending champions at home. The Cavaliers visited the White House on Thursday, becoming the last team in history to share the moment with President Barack Obama…
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Washington could be without John Wall, who’s not going to play back-to-back games as part of his rehab process. According to CSN’s J.Michael, Scott Brooks has already made a decision on whether or not Wall will play against Cleveland.
Even if their All-Star point guard plays, the Wizards will be the overwhelming underdog against the Cavaliers.
To compete or have a chance at victory, Washington should focus on the following three things.
Making life difficult for LeBron
LeBron is going to get his. That’s inevitable. There’s virtually no stopping the person who’s arguably the best player to ever lace up basketball sneakers.
With that said, the Wizards have to make life at least somewhat difficult for him.
Porter has played more at the four spot under Brooks and will likely be slotted against Kevin Love on Friday.
Love is capable of scoring inside, but the mismatch is less of an issue than having Porter attempt to stop LeBron.
Markieff Morris shut Paul Millsap down by playing physical defense and he’s the only one on the Washington Wizards’ roster that can at least offer some resistance against LeBron.
Washington has a tendency to turn the ball over in bunches – meaning, they do it consecutive times and ruin the momentum they’ve built prior to coughing up the ball.
Cleveland is the second best offensive team in the league, scoring 111.4 points per game.
When they get opportunities to score in transition, they capitalize. One dunk by LeBron on a fast break can shift the game completely. Plus, it doesn’t help that there will be a ton of wine-and-gold jerseys at Verizon Center. A key turnover can make all of the difference.
Hitting from deep
Currently, the Washington Wizards are the sixth worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA. They won’t be able to keep up with Cleveland’s offense unless they can hit shots from deep on Friday. Porter and Bradley Beal, in particular, have to remain consistent threats from the perimeter.
Getting stops is one thing, but outscoring the Cavaliers is another. Washington doesn’t have enough offensive firepower to be able to go on short runs and stay close. Knocking down shots from three might be the only way the Wizards can compete against the Cavaliers.