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News » Cavaliers-Wizards Preview 2009-11-18

Cavaliers-Wizards Preview 2009-11-18

Cavaliers-Wizards Preview 2009-11-18Injuries are mounting for Cleveland, but LeBron James is doing his part to help the Cavaliers overcome them.

With Shaquille O'Neal and Anderson Varejao likely sidelined again Wednesday night, the reigning NBA MVP will try to help the Cavaliers beat the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center for the first time in more than two years.

O'Neal has missed two games with a strained shoulder and wasn't expected to travel to Washington with the team, and coach Mike Brown doesn't think Varejao will be ready to return from a hip contusion to face the Wizards.

Jamario Moon joined Cleveland's list of injured frontcourt players Tuesday. He's considered doubtful after suffering a sprained ankle in the third quarter of the Cavaliers' 114-108 win over Golden State.

The Cavaliers (8-3) have won five straight in spite of the frontcourt injuries, in large part because of James. The five-time All-Star scored 20 of his 31 points in the second half Tuesday and finished with a season high-tying 12 assists to help the Cavaliers win for the eighth time in nine games.

"Your rhythm is going to change. There's no way to stay away from it," James said, referring to all the injuries. "As long as we continue to go with the game plan and play hard, we'll give ourselves a chance to win. We've got guys out on the court who have been in these situations time and time again."

James is averaging 31.0 points and 8.2 assists in during Cleveland's winning streak, increasing his season averages to 27.8 and 8.0, respectively. He had 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists to spur Cleveland to a 102-90 home win over Washington on Nov. 3.

The Cavaliers, though, have dropped 19 of 23 regular-season road games against the Wizards since Dec. 11, 1996, including nine of 11 since drafting James with the No. 1 overall pick in 2003. They've lost four straight there since a 99-94 win April 6, 2007.

The Wizards (2-7) will try to continue that home success against the Cavaliers and snap a six-game slide that started in Cleveland. They haven't dropped seven in a row since an eight-game skid from Dec. 11-25.

That losing streak came without Gilbert Arenas, who had been limited to 15 games over the last two seasons due to three knee surgeries.

Finally healthy, Arenas leads Washington with 23.4 points and 6.3 assists per game this season, but he's still coping with returning to the court on a full-time basis.

"I find myself doing more thinking than I am just reacting, off my instincts," Arenas said. "Players in this league, they react. I was a reactor. Now I find myself being a thinker."

That may have been a reason for Arenas missing his first six shots and going 1 for 3 in the fourth quarter of the Wizards' 106-103 loss to Detroit on Saturday. He finished the game with 19 points and a season-high 10 assists.

"There's always a half or a quarter where I don't shoot or I don't score. Before, in (former Wizards coach Eddie Jordan's) system, he needed me to score 30. In this system, I don't have to," Arenas said. "Me sitting, not shooting for a whole quarter, doesn't really bother (me), because we have other players that's scoring.

"But then when I try to get in a rhythm, I just don't have that feel, so I have to try to find a way to keep myself in the game the whole time."

Arenas had 22 points while dishing out five assists against Cleveland on Nov. 3.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 18, 2009


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