Preview: Wizards looks to snap two-game slide Saturday vs. Heat

Capital One Arena | 7 p.m. | TV: NBCSW | Radio: 99.1 FM & Wizards App

After facing off Thursday night in Miami, the Wizards and Heat meet again on Saturday, this time at 7 p.m. at Capital One Arena. Washington was defeated in the teams’ last meeting, 112-97, despite a 30-point performance from Bradley Beal. The Heat have now won four games in a row and are tied for first in the Eastern Conference with the Nets while the Wizards are now tied for third in the East with the Bulls at 10-5.

G Spencer Dinwiddie Kyle Lowry
G Bradley Beal Tyler Herro
F Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Jimmy Butler
F Kyle Kuzma P.J. Tucker
C Daniel Gafford Bam Adebayo

WIZARDS: Davis Bertans (left ankle sprain – out), Thomas Bryant (left ACL injury recovery – out), Daniel Gafford (right thumb sprain – available), Rui Hachimura (not with team – out)

HEAT: Bam Adebayo (left knee bruise – available), Tyler Herro (right wrist bruise – available), Markieff Morris (neck – out), Victor Oladipo (right knee injury recovery – out)

Dinwiddie, Gafford set to return
The Wizards will be getting some key reinforcements for Saturday night’s game in Washington. First, Spencer Dinwiddie, who did not play in Thursday night’s loss as part of his pre-established right knee injury recovery plan. Over his last 10 games, Dinwiddie is averaged 14.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game, including back-to-back double-doubles earlier this month.

“It just gives you another guy,” Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said on Thursday. “He can score, he’s a big target for us as a playmaker. Any time you get bodies back, guys starting for you, it’s a good thing. A little bit of rest, a little bit of recovery, a day to regroup and lick our wounds and get back at it. We look forward to the opportunity.”

Additionally, Unseld Jr. announced before the game on Saturday that Daniel Gafford would be back in the starting lineup for Washington.

Back-to-back matchups
Saturday’s game against Miami will be a rare instance of back-to-back regular season matchups against the same team. In fact, it’s the only time this season Washington will play consecutive games against a common opponent, presenting a unique, playoff-like opportunity to judge immediate improvement. And while the above-mentioned reinforcements will change the complexion of the game in a number of ways, Unseld Jr. said he does not anticipate significant changes to the way the team approaches Saturday’s matchup.

“There will be some things that we can take from the film and maybe utilize and tweak, make some changes and maybe help us out (Saturday),” Unseld Jr. said after Thursday’s game. “But I don’t think there are any wholesale changes just as far as what we saw (Thursday).”

Bradley Beal said the one thing he wants to see the team improve on between Thursday and Saturday’s game is taking better care of the basketball.

“The biggest thing is limiting our turnovers,” Beal said after Thursday’s loss. “If we limit our turnovers, we’ll be fine. We’re able to score. Scoring is not our problem. We’re a top-five or top-10 team defensively…it’s just a matter of us putting it all together and I think we’ll do that on Saturday.”

Butler on a roll entering Saturday’s matchup
One of the first priorities for the Wizards’ defense will be slowing down Jimmy Butler, who has scored 30-plus points in three of his last four games, including a 31-point triple-double against the Pelicans earlier this week. Against the Wizards on Thursday night, Butler finished with 32 points on 11-19 (.579) from the field and 10-10 (1.000) from the free throw line. Butler did his best work coming out of halftime, scoring 10 points on 5-5 (1.000) shooting in the third quarter.

Tickets for all Wizards home games can be purchased HERE.


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