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Wizards vs. Cavaliers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards vs. Cavaliers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards host LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS vs. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Where: Verizon Center
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: TNT (pregame coverage at 6:30 p.m. on CSN)
Live stream: NBA.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Big test for the Wizards

The Wizards have put together a nice little run for themselves. After going 28-12 in their last 40 games, they now sit third in the East at 30-20, 10 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2014-15 season. They have won seven in a row and 17 straight at home. Right now, it's good to be the Wizards.

But throughout this recent stretch, they haven't faced a team the caliber of the Cleveland Cavaliers, whom they meet on Monday night at the Verizon Center. They the defending champions and represented the East in each of the last two Finals. They have LeBron James, the best player on the planet, and they run the conference. Any sort of deep playoff run this spring will go through Cleveland. For the Wizards, this game offers an excellent test of where they are. Can they stack up with one of the league's best, or will they be knocked down a peg and be handed some humble pie? We shall see.

[RELATED: Is Monday the biggest regular-season game of Wall's career?]

Lot on the line for Wiz

James may not know the exact number, as he mistakenly told ESPN's Lisa Salters on Saturday night that the Wizards have won 13 straight at home. It's actually 17 and it's the second-longest home streak in franchise history only to the 1974-75 Bullets. Either way, it's a big deal and the Wizards will put that streak on the line Monday against one of the NBA's best teams. The Cavs, though, aren't all that great on the road. Despite boasting the second-best overall record in basketball at 34-15, their 12 road wins are tied for 10th-most among NBA teams.

The Wizards, as mentioned above, have also won seven straight games overall. That's their longest win streak in 12 years, since January of 2005. If they win on Monday they will have their longest win streak in 16 years, since 2001 when 38-year-old Michael Jordan's Wizards won a franchise-record nine straight.

Here is a look at the longest winning streaks in franchise history via Basketball Reference:

[RELATED: VIDEO: 'Meet the Press' ends with shoutout to Wizards]

Kyrie is hurting

Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving has already said that he's playing against the Wizards on Monday, but that doesn't mean he will be 100 percent. Irving suffered a right thigh contusion on Wednesday in a game against the Timberwolves and didn't play Saturday as the Cavs beat the Knicks in New York.

Since Irving didn't play on Saturday, he will face the Wizards having rested for four days. That should help what sounds like a minor injury, but it still bears watching. Right now it's not an easy task to play against John Wall and Bradley Beal.

[RELATED: Confident John Wall says Wizards can make Eastern Conference Finals]

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What Wizards learned in the bubble about their offseason needs

What Wizards learned in the bubble about their offseason needs

The Wizards got a better idea of what to go shopping for this offseason based on their eight games in the bubble. Here is what they learned...

Bryant is capable of good defense

It wasn't perfect, he had some ups and downs, but Thomas Bryant showed more defensively during the Wizards' eight games in Orlando than he had previously in his Wizards career. He even earned some really high praise from head coach Scott Brooks following their loss to Joel Embiid and the Sixers, which Brooks called the best defensive game he has ever seen Bryant play. 

Bryant finished with some encouraging numbers. He averaged 2.0 blocks per game and held his match-ups to 45% from the field, down from his 48.7% season clip. Embiid went just 3-for-11 against Bryant, for example. Bryant's 14.9 contested shots per game were up considerably from his season average (10.3/g) and would rank fourth in the NBA if held over a full season (Robin Lopez, Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Ayton). 

Now the question is how much Bryant can be asked to solve the team's desperate and years-long need for rim protection. He had a good stretch, but can he do that over a full season? The Wizards would probably be smart to still look for help in that area. They may be able to find it in the draft with James Wiseman of Memphis, if they have some lottery luck, or Onyeka Okongwu of USC if they don't move up.

Brown can play some PG, but how much?

Troy Brown Jr. had an odd trajectory in Orlando where he started out really well and then struggled late. He thrived early on as a playmaker on the wing and did enough to earn some time exclusively at point guard. But while playing point guard, his production dropped off.

All in all, it was a strong showing for Brown in the bubble. He averaged 15.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He just didn't score efficiently, as evidenced by his ugly 37.9 field goal percentage. He shot 25.4 percent in the final two games while starting at point.

Brown, though, arguably did enough to earn some time on the ball next season. Exactly how much of that responsibility the Wizards can offer is unclear. John Wall will be back as the starting point guard and they have Ish Smith also returning. At the very least, maybe the Wizards can skip past the need for a third point guard and count Brown among their options. He could back up Wall and Smith and if Wall needs to sit for rest, like for back-to-backs, Brown can move into the top-two point guard rotation and maybe even start there.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

Robinson may solve a problem at back-up SG

Jerome Robinson had the best stretch of his career while playing in Orlando in what was his first extended offering of playing time. He averaged 14.8 points while shooting 36.7 percent from three on 6.1 attempts. The numbers may not show it, but he also had some encouraging moments on defense when he was asked to take on some tough defensive assignments, like Devin Booker of the Suns.

Robinson displayed enough to be given a good look this fall as Bradley Beal's primary back-up at the shooting guard spot. Brooks even mentioned using Robinson at the three so they can find him more minutes.

The question is whether Robinson can establish consistency while playing in a back-up role. It won't be easy to pull off with fewer minutes and shots to work with.

Wagner and Schofield are question marks

It might be a bit unfair to magnify the seeding games too much given there were only eight of them, but two guys in particular didn't play very well. That would be Moe Wagner and Admiral Schofield. Wagner averaged 5.1 points in 16.0 minutes and shot just 36.8 percent from the field and 15.4 percent from three. Schofield was held to 2.7 points in 12.6 minutes and shot 29.4 percent, though he did knock down a decent 35.7 percent from long range.

Wagner has more of a track record to fall back on, and Schofield should be cut some slack given it was his first season and he spent much of it in the G-League. But the Wizards will have to examine players like them on their roster - Anzejs Pasecniks, Jerian Grant, Jarrod Uthoff and Jonathan Williams III included - and determine whether they have roles on the team next season. Wagner right now looks like the No. 2 center behind Bryant, but if the Wizards do add a rim protector, or a center in the draft, Wagner could be bumped down the depth chart.

They need more help

There were many positives to pull from the Wizards' 11 total games in Orlando (including the exhibition), many of which were mentioned above. But it also told the Wizards that if you remove Beal, Wall and Davis Bertans from the team, the drop-off is significant. They competed in some games, but only managed one win and it came against a Celtics team that was missing their top seven scorers.

The Wizards need to take a long look at the supporting cast they have developed and determine whether these guys can be relied upon next year in important roles. Just because a guy is showing promise doesn't mean his spot on the roster couldn't be upgraded. Maybe some players work better as trade assets rather than building blocks.

Forward remains an area of need. Next season, there is currently an opening in the starting lineup alongside Rui Hachimura and Bryant in the frontcourt. Maybe it is filled by Brown or Isaac Bonga, but the Wizards will have some options to add to that mix.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Kevin Durant posts cryptic, oddly timed tweet after Nets lose to Trail Blazers

Kevin Durant posts cryptic, oddly timed tweet after Nets lose to Trail Blazers

The Nets, playing without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and most of their key rotation players, lost to Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers Thursday night, clinching a play-in opportunity for Portland as the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Lillard had 42 points and was masterful from deep. At one point, he even pulled up from the logo just beyond half-court and drilled a three. 

While Lillard was the story of the game, Durant drew some attention on social media afterward by tweeting a picture of himself dunking in Drake's "Laugh Now Cry Later" music video.

Durant's been out all year recovering from Achilles surgery, but for some reason Nets fans are still holding out hope that he might return, so one of the leading theories for the motivation behind the tweet is that Durant would return for the playoffs. The Nets hold the seventh seed in the East and are set to face the defending champion Raptors in the first round.

RELATED: IMPORTANT NBA OFFSEASON DATES TO REMEMBER

He would have to enter the bubble and quarantine for 10 days before presumably playing in his first game in over a year with little to no ramp-up. If Durant entered the bubble today, he'd be able to return by the time the Nets play the Raptors in Game 5 of the first round. Seems unlikely.

Another theory is that because the Blazers beat the Nets, there's a good chance the Lakers will have a tougher road to the NBA Finals. Given we have no reason to believe he's interested in the Lakers winning a title or that he'd actually be happy after his team loses probably busts this one as well. 

Could it be that Durant was excited about being in a popular music video and tweeted a still of himself coincidentally 30-or-so minutes after his team wrapped up its regular season? Probably, but when has that ever stopped the Twitter detectives from going nuts online?

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WIZARDS TALK PODCAST

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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