Monday, December 5, 2022
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Preview: Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavs put winning streak up against Wizards

The Cleveland Cavaliers aim to extend their winning streak to five games on Wednesday when they open a four-game homestand against the Washington Wizards.

The Cavaliers, however, were left with a sour feeling after their 126-109 win over the New York Knicks on Sunday. Starting guard Collin Sexton sustained a meniscus tear in his left knee and will be sidelined indefinitely.

“We all hurt for teammates. Obviously, nobody wants to see our guys get injured or be out and away from us, but in the moment, we know the best thing that we can do for them is go out and compete our (expletive) off and be who we are,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “That’s what they would want. It’s the buy-in and the togetherness, that the only thing that matters is we do it together, with who we got.”

Ricky Rubio likely will see more playing time in place of Sexton, who is averaging a team-leading 16.0 points this season. The 31-year-old Rubio recorded career-high totals in 3-pointers (eight) and points (37) against the Knicks.

Isaac Okoro could be another option to replace Sexton. He is in line to return to action after sitting out seven games with a strained left hamstring.

Jarrett Allen was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after recording a double-double in each of his last four games. The fifth-year center is averaging 20.5 points and 16.3 rebounds during that stretch.

Rookie Evan Mobley recorded 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists on Sunday. That performance made Rubio gush over Mobley, the third overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft.

“He’s special and he will be special,” Rubio said. “We don’t even know how (high) his potential can be.”

Like the Cavaliers, the Wizards also are off to a fast start to the season. In fact, Washington is off to its best start since the 2014-15 season.

The Wizards seek to record their second three-game winning streak of the campaign on Wednesday when they open a two-game road trip.

“I think we’ve been able to pull together relatively quickly with so many pieces,” Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “It’s a lot to ask, but for the most part our guys have been great with our effort and locked in with what we are trying to do.”

Bradley Beal was locked in on Sunday. He scored 30 points on 14-of-22 shooting from the floor in the Wizards’ 101-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Beal is shooting 53.4 percent from the floor in his last four games. He also has 25 assists and 17 rebounds in that stretch.

Beal averaged 26.0 points in two games against Cleveland last season.

Kyle Kuzma collected 15 points and 10 rebounds on Sunday for his fourth double-double of the season. Montrezl Harrell added 15 points and four rebounds versus the Bucks.

“It’s an amazing feeling, knowing that you have vets and when it’s time to close out a game, win a game, they’re prepared,” Beal said. “They know what to do. And we’re all, camaraderie-wise, ready to go. You can look at the guy next to you and know that he’s been in this trench before. It’s an unbelievable feeling. We’re still not perfect, but there are definitely strides in the right direction.”

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