This is a rematch of an excellent series last season between these two teams. The big difference is that the Wizards will be without Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler due to major injuries. Here’s a closer look at the matchups in this series:
POINT GUARD: After Larry Hughes replaced Eric Snow as the starting point guard the Cavs started to really roll. Hughes is not a good outside shooter but he’s good at getting to the basket. He averaged 14.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game this season. Hughes also is a really good defender and that could be a big problem for the Wizards. Antonio Daniels was a backup most of the season but he has played well since taking over the starting job for the Wizards. He averaged 7.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. EDGE: CAVALIERS
SHOOTING GUARD: DeShawn Stevenson is a decent player, but he’s not a go-to type of player. Still, he could bring his offensive game up a little bit in this series as Sasha Pavlovic isn’t known for his defense. Stevenson averaged 11.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game this season. The Cavs really took off after Larry Hughes moved to point guard and Sasha Pavlovic took over as the starting shooting guard. Pavlovic averaged 9.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. EDGE: EVEN
SMALL FORWARD: LeBron James is going to be the best player on the planet and soon! Could this be the post season that he makes a Michael Jordan like run to a NBA Championship? It’s very possible. He torched the Wizards in the playoffs last season and it will be much worse this year. James averaged 27.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game during the regular season and he’ll put up much better numbers than that against the Wizards in this series. Without Caron Butler around to give James a battle, Jarvis Hayes will start at small forward for the Wizards. He averaged 7.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game this season. EDGE: THE CAVALIERS BY A MILE
POWER FORWARD: Antwan Jamison is the only one of the “Triplets” healthy enough to take on the Cavaliers. He averaged 19.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game this season. Look for his numbers to come up a little bit in this series as he will be the main man for the Wizards. Drew Gooden is the classic power forward as he’s a good rebounder and defender. He averaged 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game this season for the Cavaliers. He should be able to post up Antwan Jamison at will as he’s a much bigger player than Jamison is. EDGE: WIZARDS
CENTER: Zydrunas Ilgauskas remains one of the most underrated centers in the NBA. He averaged 11.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game this season. He’s got a good shot from out to 18 feet and that could hurt the Wizards in this series as their centers are pretty much bangers in the paint. Etan Thomas has played well down the stretch for the Wizards. He has averaged 6.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 0.4 assists per game this season. EDGE: CAVALIERS
BENCH: The key players off the Wizards bench are now starting which really hurts the bench in this series. Darius Songaila will probably get the most playing time off of the bench for the Wizards. He averaged 7.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game this season. Backup center Brendan Haywood will also get a lot of action in this series. He lost his starting gig to Etan Thomas down the stretch. He averaged 6.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 0.6 assists per game this season. Andray Blatche will also get some PT for the Wizards. He only averaged 3.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game this season. Reserve point guard Donell Taylor will get to play a little bit when Antonio Daniels needs a break. He only averaged 2.7 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game this season.
Anderson “Wild Thing” Varejao will get big minutes in this series for the Cavs. He brings energy off of the bench and it infects his teammates. He averaged 6.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game this season. He also is a master at taking charges which could cause trouble for the Wizards offense. Donyell Marshall also will see more playing time than he got in the 2nd half of the season. He only averaged 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 0.6 assists per game. He’s a good rebounder and three-point shooter. Eric Snow will also get some PT behind Larry Hughes at point guard. He’s a pass-first player that plays good defense. He only averaged 4.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game this season. Daniel Gibson (4.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists) and Damon Jones (6.6 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists) both are good shooters that could make a few key shots in this series. EDGE: CAVALIERS
PREDICTION: The Cavaliers will win this series in 4 games. They should win every game by 10+ points or they’re not trying.