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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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Dwight Howard improving, but status still unknown entering Wizards' season opener

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Dwight Howard improving, but status still unknown entering Wizards' season opener

Dwight Howard may play in the Wizards' regular-season opener on Thursday night against the Miami Heat, but the team will not know until the day of the game and likely won't announce the decision either way until head coach Scott Brooks addresses the media about two hours before tipoff.

Howard only has three practices under his belt but has made significant progress throughout this week after missing all five of the team's preseason games due to a strain in his piriformis muscle.

Head coach Scott Brooks said Howard has looked good in those three practices but has a lot of missed time to make up for.

"I think he's definitely winded at times, but that's part of it," Brooks said.

Brooks added that Howard is not getting the same lift when jumping that he's used to. Howard, 32, is used to playing above the rim and his vertical leap is an important part of his game.

The Wizards play their first two games at home, the second on Saturday against the Raptors. They then embark on a Western Conference road trip beginning with the Blazers on Monday.

Brooks said Howard will "definitely" make that trip with the team, which gives a good indication of how close he is to returning to game action. When Howard is ready to play will be left up to the team's medical staff.

If Howard does miss time, the Wizards are expected to rely on his backup Ian Mahinmi as the starting center. Jason Smith would then become the No. 2 center on the depth chart, though they could use forwards like Markieff Morris or Jeff Green at the five-spot.

Howard signed a two-year free-agent deal worth $11 million to join the Wizards in July.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

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John Wall and Bradley Beal will depend on each other more than ever in year 7

John Wall and Bradley Beal will depend on each other more than ever in year 7

The Wizards will only go as far as John Wall and Bradley Beal take them. There's just no other way around it.

The chemistry between Wall and Beal has been the dominant topic for years surrounding this team, and the magnifying glass will only be pushed closer this season, despite all of the other additions the Wizards made this offseason.

It's all about the backcourt. 

Luckily, both Wizards All-Stars understand and embrace the pressure. 

"We're opposites, but we're the same in a way," Beal told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller. "He's more loud and outspoken, I'm more chill and relaxed, but you put us together, it's peanut butter and jelly."

Have you noticed that peanut butter and jelly always seems to be the go-to "good combination" for people? At least Beal didn't say something weird like tuna and bananas, although to each his own if that's what you like.

Anyway, more importantly, Wall understands this sandwich dynamic just as much as Beal does. Especially when the topic of a championship comes up. 

"I couldn't get it without him, and he couldn't do it without me," Wall said.  "I think that's the bond we have built, and it's gotten so much better each year."

One of the biggest reasons for divorce that we see in pro sports is ego. So many players don't understand what Wall alluded to. No matter how good you are, you can't do it alone. You need your wingman.

There were certainly rumblings or worries that Wall and Beal had their issues chemistry-wise earlier in their careers, but we're seeing two young stars grow as each season passes. 

That doesn't mean there still won't be times where they don't click. That's natural.

Keep in mind though, this is the seventh season the two will play together. The NBA is known to chew up and spit out young, inexperienced teams. The grind is part of the journey. Wall and Beal have had playoff success and failures, but they went through it together.

Now comes the time where those learning experiences become something they grow from, and use it to fuel a push to their ultimate goal – a championship.

And maybe a better peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

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