The Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards return from the NBA All-Star break for an important Eastern Conference matchup at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday night, as both teams continue to jostle for playoff positioning.
Coverage will be nationally on TNT, starting at 8 p.m. ET. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game live online at no cost by signing up for a free trial of one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
DirecTV Now: TNT is included in each of the four main channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, plus you can get a free Amazon Fire TV if you prepay two months. Once signed up, you can watch a live stream of TNT on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Sling TV: TNT is included in both the “Sling Orange” and “Sling Blue” channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch TNT live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
These teams have met in DC twice this season, with the Cavs pulling out wins both times. You don’t want to read too much into those games since they happened in November and December, and each roster looks significantly different this time around. However, it is worth noting that LeBron James averaged a comical 38.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 11.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks in those contests, including a 57-point nuclear explosion in the first matchup.
Moreover, LeBron has a bit more help this time around. It’s obviously a small sample size, but the Cavs are 2-0 since adding Rodney Hood, George Hill, Larry Nance and Jordan Clarkson at the trade deadline, beating the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder both on the road by a combined 30 points.
Of course, the Wizards have a different look about them, too, as star point guard John Wall continues to sit out after undergoing knee surgery in late January. It’s hardly been a death sentence, though, as they’ve gone 7-2 with wins over the Thunder, Raptors and Pacers during the most recent stretch without their franchise cornerstone.
A big reason for that success has been the play of Tomas Satoransky, who, since taking over for Wall in the starting lineup, is averaging 11.4 points, 5.9 assists and 1.4 steals per contest while shooting a deadly 14-of-23 from three-point range. Among all lineups over the last 10 games, the Satoransky/Bradley Beal/Otto Porter/Markieff Morris/Marcin Gortat group has the second-best plus/minus in the league at plus-78 (393-315 in 158 minutes).
Put it all together, and you have two of the East’s best teams, who, despite looking significantly different than what they were earlier in the season, are both playing extremely high-level basketball. That makes for a really compelling matchup to kick off the post-All-Star-break portion of the season.