Wizards-Cavaliers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 24, 2012
While the season is nearly over and the Washington Wizards will again miss the playoffs, they are playing at their highest level in years. The Wizards believe that's a good sign for their future, and they'll go for a fifth straight win Wednesday night when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers. Washington has the second-worst record in the NBA behind Charlotte but has surprised a few playoff teams in the past two weeks. The Wizards (18-46) have won four straight and six of eight. Three of those victories came against postseason-bound opponents - at home over Orlando and on the road against Chicago and Miami. "In the middle of the season, we were still playing different ways and being selfish," point guard John Wall said. "We cleared things up, got some different guys here. Now, we're playing as a team and we're playing the best we played all season." After stunning the Heat on Saturday, Washington cruised to a 101-73 victory over the Bobcats on Monday as Nene scored 18 points and Wall added 16 with 14 assists. The Wizards' current winning streak is their longest since the 2007-08 season, the last time they made the playoffs. "If we add a couple of pieces, we know what we have on this team and what we can do when we play together," said Wall, who has recorded three consecutive double-doubles for the first time this season. One person who will help Washington build around Wall is team president Ernie Grunfeld, who agreed to a new contract Monday. Team owner Ted Leonsis said in a statement that "Ernie has led the charge to rebuild and change the direction of the Wizards." Grunfeld says he's "excited about the direction that we're headed." Cleveland (21-43) also has a young point guard it plans to build around in Kyrie Irving, but the Cavaliers have lost five of six and 17 of 21. They return home after losing games in San Antonio and Memphis. Following a 16-point defeat to the Spurs on Sunday, they lost 109-101 to the Grizzlies on Monday. Irving had 25 points but none in the fourth quarter, when Cleveland was outscored 32-23. It was his fourth game back following a nine-game absence due to a shoulder injury. He and fellow rookie Tristan Thompson combined to go 1 of 6 at the free-throw line over the final 2:17. "He's kind of upset that he missed them, but I think it's good for him to go through that type of experience," coach Byron Scott said of Thompson. "It will help him in the long run. ... Sometimes failing is good and I think he will be even better for it." Despite the defeat, it was an improvement as the Cavaliers' previous five losses were by an average of 21.2 points. "I'm very satisfied with how hard we're playing and especially how well we played tonight," Scott said. Cleveland and Washington have split two meetings this season. Both were in the nation's capital, including the Cavaliers' 98-89 victory April 14.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Draymond Green is the most efficient defender in the NBA

It’s not even June, but the San Francisco Giants are probably screwed

Odell Beckham Jr. appears to take shot at Ben McAdoo

Report: Seahawks players feel Sherman bombshell story ‘nailed it’

Turkey: Kanter a member of terrorist group, issues warrant

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Chad Johnson says Roger Goodell consulted him on touchdown celebration rule change

Kevin Durant is not to blame for the NBA’s lack of parity, and he knows it

Khloe Kardashian called out Cavs fan who mentioned ‘curse’

Warriors’ Mike Brown: Steve Kerr may be back for the Finals

Dodgers transfer Andrew Toles and Scott Kazmir to the 60-day disabled list

Looking back at 40 years of women racing in the Indianapolis 500

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker