The Washington Wizards look to improve their standing in the Eastern Conference when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night. The first matchup of the season between the teams is set to tip off at 7 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
Cleveland has lost six of its last eight games, including a 108-102 setback at Charlotte on Friday night. The Cavaliers are 21-38 on the season and in 13th place in the Eastern Conference standings, 3½ games behind the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors, who are tied for 11th.
Washington has won seven in a row and nine of its last 10 to sit in 10th place in the East. The Wizards are two games behind Indiana for ninth place and 1½ games ahead of Chicago and Toronto for the last spot in the play-in tournament at the end of the regular season.
Washington is the favorite, according to the NBA odds, with the Wizards favored by seven points on BetUS Sportsbook. The over/under for this game has been set at 226½.
Just Can’t Score
The Cleveland Cavaliers are averaging 104.0 points, the worst scoring average in the league. Part of that is due to a lack of outside shooting, as Cleveland is the only team in the NBA that doesn’t average at least 10 made 3-pointers in a game (9.7).
The backcourt duo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland has been leading the way for Cleveland. Sexton is averaging a team-high 24.5 points while Garland chips in with 17.6 points.
Sexton, in his third year in the league, has become the focal point for the offense for coach J.B. Bickerstaff. He’s averaging 26.6 points this month and has scored at least 28 points in his last three outings.
Garland has taken a step forward in his second season in the NBA, leading the Cavaliers with 6.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game. In a season that has seen Cleveland make plenty of moves regarding its front line, Sexton and Garland have been the constants for the team.
As good as Sexton and Garland have been, they’ll be the second-best backcourt pairing in this game. Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook have been outstanding and both are playing some of their best basketball over the past few weeks.
Beal is in a head-to-head duel with Golden State’s Stephen Curry for the league’s scoring title, with his average of 31.1 points trailing Curry’s 31.2 by the slimmest of margins heading into Sunday’s action. Beal is also averaging 4.1 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals in April.
Westbrook is making a late charge for potential MVP consideration, putting up triple-doubles in four straight games and 11 of 13 games he’s played in April. Westbrook is averaging 21.9 points, 11.1 rebounds (eighth in the NBA) and a league-best 10.9 assists. If he continues on that pace, it will give him four out of five seasons averaging a triple-double.
Raul Neto has emerged as a solid third guard for the Wizards of late, as he’s averaged 16.5 points, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals over the last two games. Forward Anthony Gill had a big game off the bench on Friday night, finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Wizards Keep Streaking
Washington is just playing great basketball right now, led by two of the top guards in the game. This game will be decided by the backcourts, and the Wizards have the best going right now.
Cleveland just doesn’t have the offense to keep up with the relentless attack of Washington. When making your NBA betting picks, go with the Wizards to win this one easily and cover the seven-point spread.