Beal vs. Waiters headlines Wizards-Cavaliers matchup

Beal vs. Waiters headlines Wizards-Cavaliers matchup
October 12, 2012, 10:45 pm
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Bradley Beal takes a jump shot over Jason Kidd in a Washington Wizards preseason game.

Since you have to wait until Sunday for those tackling Redskins, might as well check out these items - let's call them points of emphasis - for the Wizards' Saturday night road tilt at Cleveland...

1) Lineup combinations for 100, Alex: After consecutive slow starts, look for Randy Wittman to send out a new starting five when the 0-2 Wizards tip off against Byron Scott's 1-1 Cavaliers. Not sure any change should be deemed as anything other than tinkering right now. Then again,  if members of the second unit - Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Jannero Pargo and Chris Singleton - moved up a rung and carried over the chemistry displayed during Thursday's 22-0 second quarter run against New York, who  knows. Also doesn't sound like Emeka Okafor (food poisoning) will make his Wizards debut just yet.

2) Point guard disparity: Normally a Washington-Cleveland matchup would have a "John Wall vs. Kyrie Irving" subplot. Not so much this time as Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, sits with a leg injury. That means against Irving, the first selection in the 2011 draft and reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, the Wizards will send out a combination of A.J. Price (Washington's starter through two preseason games), Pargo and Shelvin Mack. Obviously if Washington's unsettled (and arguably uninspiring) rotation is rolled by the Cavaliers dynamic star, hey, it's only preseason. Of course, the Wizards will face this exact matchup when they return to Cleveland Oct. 30 for the regular season opener (followed by consecutive meetings against Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics). Therefore, yes, we're talking preseason on Saturday but potential foreshadowing as well.

3) Rookie showdown: Without the Wall-Irving dynamic, the matchup focus centers on dueling first-year wing guards; Beal, the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, against Dion Waiters, the Syracuse product selected one spot later. Washington's main newbie has remained poised yet aggressive in both preseason games, averaging a team-best 16.5 points while shooting 37.5 percent (3 of 8) on 3-pointers and 88.9 percent (8 of 9) from the foul line. Like Beal, Waiters has also been coming off the bench - something he did with regularity in college - at the behest of his stern head coach. Unlike Beal, Waiters' offensive touch has been limited, shooting 30 percent from the field while averaging 6.5 points thru two games. The 6-foot-4 guard left college with a strong reputation as a defender, making the meeting against the offensively potent Beal one to watch indeed.