Washington at Cleveland
Time: 6 PM CT, NBA LP
Spread: WAS -7.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
WAS TEAM NOTES:
The Washington Wizards have won six of its last 10 but it still lingers seven games below .500 and it is out of the playoff picture in the East. It trails No. 8 Charlotte by three full games in the standings.
The Wiz have begun to pay better attention to the defensive end, and that is the primary reason behind its recent success. Only two of its last six opponents have scored more than 106 points, and that was a 140-138 loss to the Toronto Raptors, as well as its last 118-126 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Trevor Ariza has assumed a comfortable role as the team’s No. 3 option after John Wall and Bradley Beal. Beal is having an All-Star season and career year. He is averaging 24.7 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game. Ariza helps tie it together with his two-way play, as one of the best defensive wings in the NBA. He is averaging nearly 15 points per game in his 16 games as a Wizards, and it appears that (though no one thought it could) he could change the Wizards’ fate this season.?In its 17 games with Ariza, the Wizards have fared 8-9, which is an improvement and a mark good enough to be playoff-worthy in the Eastern Conference. When analysts and fans talk about team-changing talents, Ariza is not the first to come to mind, but he has been just that thus far for Washington.
CLE TEAM NOTES:
The Cleveland Cavaliers have lost eight of its last 10. It is 10-41 and in last place in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavs fans can turn their attention to a talented draft class, but as for this season, the theme will continue to be developing the existent young talents on this roster and trying to find a semblance of chemistry between rookie Collin Sexton and the several notable offensive talents the Cavs still possess. Kevin Love is still good for 19 points and 11 rebounds a game, but he is never going to be back to the level of production he showed in Minnesota before Joining LeBron James.
Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood are both good scorers, but neither should be a team’s No. 2 and No. 3 options—not if the goal is winning basketball games. Sexton has been everything the Cavaliers hoped he would be, but he still is facing the typical issues of rookie point guards, which includes hardly getting any calls. Tristan Thompson is averaging a double-double, but it is clear he has capped his potential and is a role player at best.
The Cavaliers will simply hope that a talent such as Zion Williamson can change its fate when it drafts in the summer. Because there is precious little to be gained from a season derailed by not only injuries but a sheer lack of talent with the subtraction of James, who simply made a lot of rag-tag performers play far above their usual levels. Remove the best player in the game, and this team is right where most figured it would be, in the cellar.