The Cleveland Cavaliers did not look good the last time they played the Washington Wizards in the nation’s capital city. How will they react when they start the post-All-Star-break? Washington will be waiting but they’re posted as a 3.5-point home dog on the NBA betting lines.
The Cleveland Cavaliers Can Win Because…
They're going to have LeBron James at his best, and they are currently listed as -3 on the NBA betting odds. The extended break should make James a very energetic and locked-in version of his normal self. Cleveland really did repair the issues that had been bothering the team before the All-Star break. The Cavaliers were able to deal Dion Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder while getting J.R. Smith. They also traded to get Timofey Mozgov from the Denver Nuggets to fill the gap left by the injury to Anderson Varejao. Cleveland was near the .500 mark when that deal was made. A few weeks later, Cleveland had reeled off a 12-game winning streak and had moved within just a few games of second-place Toronto in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers are currently in fifth place in the East, but they’re only four games behind Toronto for second with 27 games left to play. (Toronto has 29 games left, two in hand over the Cavs.) Cleveland is going to make a hard push for second, and with LeBron and this improved, reassembled lineup in place – one which has very rarely lost since it was put together – the Cavaliers should be viewed very favorably.
Washington lost six of its last eight before the All-Star break. The Wizards scored under 99 points in five of those six losses, and under 94 points in three of them. There are major questions about the ability of this offense to perform well enough to carry Washington deep into the playoffs.
The Washington Wizards Can Win Because…
Their All-Star break could not have come at a better time. When this team was losing multiple times to the Charlotte Hornets just before the break, the team did a lot of finger-pointing and expressed a lot of frustration with how things were going.
Shooting guard Bradley Beal said this after one loss to Charlotte: “We are not hungry. We are not the same team we were coming into training camp and to start the year off. I don't think we still have that same heart and desire to prove ourselves and put teams away and show that we are still about business. I think we definitely took several steps back in these last five games.”
Coach Randy Wittman said, “We don’t play hard anymore.”
John Wall had been dealing with a sprained right ankle and migraine-like headaches. With a week off to get away from basketball and regroup, Wall and the rest of this team is in good position to come together. It’s not about numbers; it’s about being able to rededicate everyone to the task of winning basketball games.
You should not expect Washington to be the same team it was in the first week of February.
The Cavaliers might see a different Washington team, but that’s speculation. We’ve clearly been able to see that Cleveland became a different team in January and early February, playing like the team that is still considered a top-two choice to win the Eastern Conference and advance to the NBA Finals. Take the Cavs with your NBA picks here.
NBA Pick: Cavaliers -3.5 at The Greek