Saturday, September 23, 2023
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NBA Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers (12-10) at Washington Wizards (14-8)

The Cleveland Cavaliers aim to match a season-high win streak on Friday when they conclude a three-game road trip against the Washington Wizards.

The Cavaliers posted their third straight lopsided victory with a 111-85 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

Cleveland previously won four in a row last month before dropping a 97-94 decision against Washington on Nov. 10.

Rookie Evan Mobley recorded 19 points and seven rebounds in the first meeting with the Wizards. Although the team’s result wasn’t desired in that contest, the Cavaliers are 9-2 in the last 11 games played with Mobley in the lineup.

Last time out, Mobley scored 15 of his 17 points in the third quarter versus the Heat and finished with 11 rebounds.

Jarrett Allen also followed up a career-high 28-point, 14-rebound performance in Cleveland’s 114-96 win in Dallas on Monday with his fifth straight double-double two nights later. Allen finished with 19 points and 11 boards on Wednesday as Cleveland improved to 7-4 on the road this season.

“It’s just buying in,” Allen said of the Cavaliers’ success away from home. “I talk to (teammate) Ed Davis a lot on this team, and he always comments that this team is different. This team is different in how we connect on and off the court. It’s different how we buy in to the system. It’s different in how we go about our business. And I think that’s one of the main reasons why we’re coming on the road and dominating like we are.”

Kevin Love highlighted his 22-point performance with six 3-pointers on Wednesday for Cleveland, which made 16 of 31 shots from beyond the arc.

“We knew that we had a job to do and that’s the way how we approached the game,” Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “There can’t be any letdown when you’re playing a team that carries the reputation that the Miami Heat carry. Our guys were aware of that, and they went out with a business-like approach and got the job done.”

The Wizards posted their third win in four games overall and eighth in 10 contests at home with a 115-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

Montrezl Harrell made 11 of 12 shots from the floor to finish with a season-high 27 points versus the Timberwolves, marking his sixth game of at least 20 points off the bench this season. He had 22 points and 11 rebounds in the previous encounter with Cleveland.

“It’s not like this is unique for him. He’s done this with other teams,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said of Harrell. “His ability to come in and change the complexion of a game — through the hustle plays, the scoring, the energy, the rebounding, whatever it is. He has an impact.”

Kyle Kuzma didn’t make much of an impact on Wednesday after registering just five points. However, he scored 12 of his team co-leading 22 in the fourth quarter against the Cavaliers.

Daniel Gafford collected his third consecutive double-double with 18 points and a team-high 10 rebounds on Wednesday.

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