Matchup of backcourts not happening Tuesday

It could be the premier Eastern Conference backcourt rivalry of the future. The Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers just can't seem to get healthy at the same time to make it one in the present.

Half of the four starting guards between the two squads are questionable at best heading into the teams' third and final meeting of the season. Rookie Bradley Beal (sprained left ankle) didn't feel strong enough to practice Monday for the Wizards (20-41), and Kyrie Irving suffered a left shoulder contusion Sunday that will cost him the next three to four weeks.

"It's just tough because that's who I was waiting to play against because he's been having a good year," Wizards point guard John Wall said.

Up next
Wizards at Cavaliers
When » Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Where » Quicken Loans Arena,

Wall, the former No. 1 overall pick in 2010, and Irving, the top pick the next year, have faced one another in only one full game out of five between the franchises since the start of last season.

In Washington's 101-98 win at Verizon Center last March, Wall had 24 points and five assists while Irving had 20 and six. They met twice in April, with Irving sitting out the first game with a shoulder sprain in a Cleveland victory. In the second, Wall put up 21 and 13, while Irving, battling the flu, played less than 10 minutes in a Wizards win.

Wall missed the first two contests between the teams this season while he was recovering from a stress injury in his left knee. The Cavaliers (21-42) won both, with Irving putting up 29 points in the teams' season opener in Cleveland on Oct. 30 and then 26 and eight assists in an 87-84 win at Verizon Center on Dec. 26.

Dion Waiters had 17 points in the October matchup and is averaging 14.7 points per game, slightly more than Beal (14.2 ppg), who was picked one spot before him in June's draft. Beal is looking forward to multiple meetings per season, whenever they happen.

"Just because of the pace and the different things we all can do, it's going to be crazy," Beal said. "It's definitely going to be competitive. It's going to be ugly at times. We're going to go at it. That's the type of ballplayers we are. We all love to win. We all want the best for ourselves and our teams."