LeBron James certainly didn’t stink while ending the Cleveland Cavaliers’ season-high losing streak, and he may need another dominant effort against the Washington Wizards.
James looks to build on one of his best performances of the season and get the Cavaliers back to .500 when they welcome the surging Wizards on Wednesday night.
James’ return to Cleveland (6-7) has been underwhelming, thanks in part to a four-game losing streak. The four-time MVP averaged 18.5 points during the skid, prompting him to call the team "fragile" and claiming "I stink."
He was a lot better Monday, scoring 29 points, tying his season high with 11 assists and hitting 9 of 17 from the floor to spur a 106-74 win over Orlando.
"I’m my biggest critic," James said. "I wasn’t happy with my play the last week. No one puts any more pressure on me than myself. You go out and you just don’t talk about it, you show it too.
"A win always makes things feel better, but we still have a lot of work to do."
They’ll have plenty as they face the Wizards (9-4) for the second time in six days. The Cavs had their worst offensive showing of the season in Friday’s 91-78 defeat at Washington, making a season-low 36.0 percent from the field – 6 of 27 from beyond the arc.
James missed 13 of 21 attempted field goals and finished with 22 points while Kevin Love had a season-low eight points and a season-high four turnovers. Kyrie Irving scored 22 and is averaging 25.8 points in his last five meetings with the Wizards.
Cleveland hasn’t been the only team to have trouble offensively against Washington, which is allowing an average of 96.7 points.
The Wizards are atop the Southeast Division, but looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s 106-102 loss to Atlanta. They’ll need to do a better job with the ball after committing a season-high 20 turnovers.
"That was as bad as we could play offensively, for whatever reason," coach Randy Wittman said. "Trying to do too much. Over-dribbling, ball-sticking, predetermining – no matter what the defense was going to do, and we just get in trouble like that."
John Wall had a season-high seven turnovers while scoring 21 points with 13 assists and seven rebounds. The guard may be looking forward to another meeting with the Cavaliers since he’s averaging 27.0 points and 8.7 assists over the past three meetings. He had 28 and seven on Friday.
It’s unclear if Washington will have Nene available after he was sidelined Tuesday with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Still, the Wizards will likely focus on limiting James’ influence since he averages 19.0 points on 39.8 percent shooting in losses compared to 32.0 points on 53.5 percent shooting in victories.
"His influence is widespread," first-year Cavs coach David Blatt said. "The things that he does and the way he plays the game and the impact he has on those around him is consequential in every respect. He can impact in every way."