Preview: Wizards face Grizzlies Tuesday in D.C.
The Wizards host the Grizzlies on Tuesday at 7:00 P.M. at Capital One Arena in the first of two straight home games to close out the first half of the regular season. Washington, winners of seven of its last nine games, looks to bounce back from a one-point loss in Boston on Sunday while Memphis is coming off a 49-point win over Houston on the same night.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 P.M. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Russell Westbrook, G – Bradley Beal, G – Garrison Mathews, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Moe Wagner
Grizzlies: G – Ja Morant, G – Desmond Bane, F – Dillon Brooks, F – Brandon Clarke, C – Jonas Valanciunas
Wizards: Thomas Bryant (left ACL injury – out), Ish Smith (right quadriceps strain – out)
Grizzlies: Grayson Allen (NBA Concussion Protocol – out), Kyle Anderson (illness – out), Jaren Jackson Jr. (left knee meniscus surgery recovery – out)
Wizards look to turn page past tough loss
The Wizards are looking toward Tuesday’s game against the Grizzles as an opportunity to put a tough finish against the Celtics behind them. After coming back from a double-digit deficit, Washington led by five with 46.9 seconds to go, but couldn’t hold on as Jayson Tatum scored six points in the final minute to give Boston the win. The Wizards hope to look back on the loss only as a reminder of the importance of closing games strong and not as a game that killed two weeks worth of winning momentum. After the game on Sunday, both Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook pointed toward the game against the Grizzlies as an important opportunity.
“We realize (Memphis is) a young, hungry and energetic team…,” Beal said. “As mad and pissed off as I may be, as everybody else may be, we still can take a lot of positives out of (the game against Boston) and apply them to the rest of the year. You try not to dwell on it too much. We look at areas we can get better, areas we can incorporate guys more and kind of go from there.
“We’ve got to get our minds ready for Tuesday and get some wins before the break,” Westbrook said.
Beal on the brink of 1K
On Tuesday night, Bradley Beal will all but certainly surpass the 1,000-point mark in just his 31st game of the season, becoming just the fourth player in the last 25 years to do so that quickly, joining James Harden (3x), Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson. It won’t take Beal long to hit the milestone as he currently sits at 997 total points this season after a 46-point performance against the Celtics on Sunday night. When he does, he will also set a new franchise record for fewest games needed to score 1,000 points, beating the previous record of 33 games. Bernard King (1990-91) and Gilbert Arenas (2006-07) are tied for the previous record.
This season, Beal ranks first in the league in points per game (33.2), field goals (351), field goals attempted (723) and usage rate (36.0). He leads the league in 30-point games (21) and is tied for the league lead in 40-point games (four). Beal has scored 35-plus points in five of his last 11 games.
Morant, Grizzlies coming off dominant win
The Grizzlies, who are 15-15 on the season, come into Tuesday’s matchup off an up and down last three games. In a Thursday-Friday home back-to-back against the Clippers, Memphis split the series, winning the first by 28 then losing the second by 20. Two days later, they took on the Rockets in Houston and won by 49 points, the second-largest winning margin across the league this season. Against the Rockets, the Grizzlies put forth a remarkably balanced team effort. All 13 players scored, seven of them in double figures and none more than 20 points. Memphis is led by star sophomore Ja Morant, an explosively athletic point guard who is averaging 18.4 points and 7.7 assists per game who can impact the game in a number of ways. Against Houston, Morant scored just six points, but still finished with a plus-30 rating in 26 minutes of action. In his last matchup with the Wizards on February 9, 2020, Morant finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, the first triple-double of his career.