Cleveland (34-15) at Washington (30-20)
When: Monday, February 6th 2017
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: TNT
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The red-hot Washington Wizards look to extend their winning streak on Monday night when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers at Verizon Center. The Wizards have grabbed first place in the Southeast Division by running off seven straight victories including 17 in a row at home. Washington outscored the New Orleans Pelicans 25-8 in the fourth quarter on Saturday and held them scoreless over the final 5:51 to extend the second-longest home winning streak in franchise history – behind a 22-game streak by the 1974-75 Bullets. All-Star point guard John Wall contributed six points, three assists and two steals to the game-ending 15-0 run on Saturday and finished with 24 points and 13 assists in his fourth straight double-double. Two of Wall’s assists in the decisive run went to power forward Markieff Morris, who is averaging 18.9 points during the seven-game winning streak. Center Marcin Gortat grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds in his fifth straight double-double on Saturday. The Wizards will play three of their next four at Verizon Center including the Pacers and Thunder.
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Cleveland has begun the month of February much better than their sub-.500 January by winning their first two games of the new month. The defending champions looked a lot better in Saturday’s 111-104 victory at the New York Knicks. Cleveland star forward Kevin Love, who has been enduring trade rumors of late, returned from a one-game absence due to a back injury and recorded 23 points and 16 rebounds in the win. The 28-year-old Love recorded a double-double in each of his last six full games and went 4-of-7 from 3-point range on Saturday. Point guard Kyrie Irving (24.2 points, 5.9 assists) sat out Saturday’s contest with quad soreness and is probable for Monday. LeBron James improved on his scoring average the last two contests by pouring in 59 points total with 22 assists. James, who’s shooting 52.9% for the season, went 11-for-14 in a 125-97 win versus Minnesota last Wednesday and only turned the ball over twice. Cleveland earned a 105-94 win at Washington on November 11th behind Irving’s 29 points.
It’s surprising to see Cleveland as an underdog in any game, but this line makes sense. Washington is rolling and Cleveland is still trying to work things out on the court. I’ll take the home team in this one.
Pick: Wizards -1