Preview: Wizards look to stay hot Tuesday vs. Clippers
Riding a five-game win streak, the Wizards are back in STAPLES Center for the second consecutive night, this time taking on the Clippers at 10:00 P.M. ET. Washington is coming off an overtime win over the Lakers on Monday while the Clippers are looking to bounce back from a last-second loss to the Nets on Sunday night.
STAPLES Center | 10:00 P.M. | NBCSW Plus | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Russell Westbrook, G – Bradley Beal, G – Garrison Mathews, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Moe Wagner
Clippers: G – Patrick Beverley, G – Paul George, F – Kawhi Leonard, F – Nicolas Batum, C – Serge Ibaka
Wizards: Thomas Bryant (left ACL injury – out), Ish Smith (right quadriceps strain – out)
Clippers: Lou Williams (rest - out)
Washington looks to extend win streak
Since February 14, the Wizards have earned consecutive wins over the Celtics, Rockets, Nuggets, Blazers and now Lakers. Washington’s five-game streak trails only Brooklyn’s six-game run as the longest active streak in the league. The first two wins, which came on back-to-back nights, were by an average of 12.5 points per game. In the last three, the Wizards have had to grind it out down the stretch, winning by an average of 4.0 points per game. Those down-to-the-wire matchups have been a comfort zone for Washington this season, now 5-1 in games decided by three points or fewer.
If the Wizards were to win on Tuesday against the Clippers, it would mark the longest win streak the team has recorded since February of 2017. The longest win streak in franchise history is nine games, accomplished four times, most recently in December of 2001.
Wizards set to play on short rest coming off OT win
The Wizards’ matchup with the Clippers will come on short rest, marking their third game in the last four nights, all of which have come on the road. And while the Tuesday night matchup requires no additional travel after their Monday night showdown at STAPLES Center with the Lakers, it comes on the heels of their first overtime game of the season. In the win, star guards Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook each played 44 minutes, Rui Hachimura played 37 and veteran big man Robin Lopez, who averages 20.1 minutes per game, played 30. The Wizards announced on Tuesday afternoon that Westbrook would play, the second consecutive time he’s played in both games of a back-to-back. Westbrook rested on the back half of back-to-backs in the opening weeks of the season.
On Tuesday night, Washington may lean more on its depth than it would under normal circumstances. Scott Brooks has had no trouble getting production out of the reserve unit as of late. The Wizards have averaged 43.0 bench points per game in their last three outings, the third-highest average in the league in that time.
Tough test awaits in Leonard-led Clippers
The Clippers are currently tied with their Los Angeles counterpart for the second-best record in the NBA (22-10) and sit in second place in the Western Conference. LA ranks third in the league in offensive rating (117.2) and third in net rating (6.2). The Clippers are 5-2 in their last seven games, but are coming off a tight loss to the Nets on Sunday in which a Kawhi Leonard game-tying shot with less than 10 seconds remaining was nullified after the All-NBA forward was called for an offensive foul while driving to the rim. Leonard and Paul George, who rank 1-2 on the team in scoring, were dominant in the loss. Leonard totaled 29 points and 13 rebounds and shot 5-9 (.555) from 3-point range while George scored 37 points on 12-19 (.631) from the field to go along with six rebounds and seven assists.