GameDay Preview: Cavs at Wizards

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Jan Vessley, Dion Waiters, Emeka Okafor
Jason Miller/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cleveland Cavaliers (6-23) travel to the Nation's Capital tonight to take on the Washington Wizards (3-22) at the Verizon Center. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

The Wine and Gold will look to notch their second straight victory as they knocked off the Milwaukee Bucks 94-82 this past weekend. Washington, on-the-other-hand, comes into tonight's ballgame hoping to end a seven-game losing skid.

Cleveland will once again be without the services of center, Anderson Varejao, whom did not travel with the team as he continues to nurse his right knee injury. In the two team's first matchup this season, Varejao set career highs with 23 rebounds (12 offensive) and nine assists to go along with nine points and two blocks in 37 minutes.

Washington will once again be without their star player, John Wall, whom has missed the entire season thus far with a stress injury to his left patella. In his absence, point guard Jordan Crawford has led the team in scoring at 15.5 points per game.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - Dion Waiters, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Tyler Zeller

Wizards: PG - Jordan Crawford, SG - Bradley Beal, SF - Martell Webster
PF - Nene, C - Emeka Okafor

Injuries: (Cavs) - Anderson Varejao, (Right Knee Contusion, Out)
(Wizards) - John Wall (Stress Injury Left Patella, Out), Trevor Booker (Strained Right Knee, Out), Trevor Ariza (Strained Left Calf, Out), A.J. Price (Fractured Right Hand, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Wizards lead the Cavaliers in the all-time series, 103-90, including a 64-31 mark in games played in Washington, but the Wine and Gold hold a 58-38 advantage in games played in their home arena.

The two teams faced each other in the season opener on Oct. 30 at Quicken Loans Arena when Cleveland outrebounded Washington 54-39 and held them to .356 (32-90) shooting in a 94-84 victory.

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Get off to a Fast Start
Washington has struggled getting off to fast starts this season, and when you have a team in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, sometimes jumping on them early can be demoralizing.

The Wine and Gold have had an unusual amount of days off between games, so if they can use fresh legs to come out and get an early lead, then the Cavaliers will give themselves a big advantage.

Key Matchup

Cavs Bigs vs. Wizards Bigs
As mentioned, the Cavs will be without Anderson Varejao for the fourth-straight game. In his absence, the Wine and Gold young big men have stepped up.

In their last game, Tristan Thompson posted his third straight double-double (8th on the season) with a season-high tying 14 points on 6-8 (.750) shooting, a game-high 14 rebounds (a career-high 12 defensive) and one block in 37 minutes. His three consecutive double-doubles streak is the longest of his career.

Along with Thompson, Tyler Zeller has been playing solid. The rookie center recorded his second double-double of the season with 11 points and a career-high tying 10 rebounds in 34 minutes at Milwaukee last Saturday. In his three games as a starter, Zeller is averaging 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in 35.0 minutes.

Zeller and Thompson will have their hands full with Washington's veteran big man tandem of Nene and Emeka Okafor.

Okafor is averaging 9.2 rebounds in his last five games while Nene is averaging 16.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists, while shooting .633 (19-of-30) from the field in his last four games.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM 218, Sirius 113, NBA League Pass Audio