The Wizards (32-41) are in the midst of a grueling stretch but are looking to get back to winning on Friday night against the Spurs (19-54). Here's everything you need to know ahead of the matchup in the DMV.
WHERE: Capital One Arena (Washington, D.C.)
WHEN: 7:00 p.m. ET
RADIO: The Team 980 & The Wizards App
Bradley Beal (left knee soreness -- out)
Kyle Kuzma (right ankle sprain -- out)
Charles Bassey (left patella; non-displaced fracture -- out)
Khem Birch (right knee; chondromalacia -- out)
Zach Collins (right biceps; contusion -- questionable)
Devonte' Graham (right quad tendon; soreness/injury management -- probable)
Keldon Johnson (neck sprain -- probable)
Tre Jones (left foot; soreness/injury management -- probable)
Romeo Langford (left adductor; soreness/injury management -- out)
Doug McDermott (right hip; contusion/injury management -- probable)
Jeremy Sochan (right knee; soreness/injury management -- out)
Devin Vassell (left knee; injury management -- questionable)
KRISTAPS PORZINGIS LEADING THE WAY
On Wednesday night, Kristaps Porzingis came out of the gates hunting for his own shot with Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma sidelined due to injuries. He knew he had to be the guy to lead the way offensively, and he took that challenge head-on, knocking down his first six shots of the game. He was getting to his spots in the mid-post, hitting catch-and-shoot jumpers, and dominating from all three levels of the floor.
The only thing capable of stopping Porzingis on Wednesday night was foul trouble. He picked up two fouls in the first four and a half minutes of the game and then picked up his third foul just 30 seconds into the second quarter, sidelining him for the rest of the half. At the break, Porzingis had 15 points in only 10 minutes of action.
On Friday night against the Spurs, Porzingis will have a similar challenge in terms of leading the way offensively with Beal and Kuzma out once again. And similar to the Nuggets, the Spurs will have a tough time matching up with him. The key is for Porzingis to stay out of foul trouble so he can maximize his time on the floor.
OWNING THE PAINT
The Spurs are a unique team when it comes to points in the paint. Offensively, they've been great all season, averaging 55.4 paint points per game -- good for second in the league. But defensively, they've struggled, giving up 56.4 paint points per game to opponents -- the most in the league by a fairly wide margin.
This is an area of the game the Wizards should be able to exploit. With Porzingis and Daniel Gafford starting alongside one another, they will be able to defend the paint at a high level while finishing around the cup on the offensive end of the floor. But the burden won't just be on them. The Wizards' guards and wings will have to be stingy at the point of attack on defense, and they'll have to be aggressive in getting two feet in the paint on offense. Look for guys like Monte Morris, Delon Wright, Johnny Davis, and Deni Avdija to attack the rim ferociously.
DENI AVDIJA ASCENDING
Speaking of Avdija, he's been superb in the last two games for the Wizards. On Tuesday night in Orlando, Avdija scored 15 points and hauled in 10 boards off the bench. He followed up that performance on Wednesday night against the Nuggets with a 16-point, eight-rebound, six-assist outing in a starting role.
With no Beal or Kuzma, Avdija will have to look to be extra aggressive on offense, especially in transition. Thankfully, he's proven to be capable of making an impact in that area. This is a good opportunity for him to continue to develop his offensive game.