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Wizards host Thunder and Raptors, head to Orlando this week
After returning from a 2-3 road trip, the Wizards will play at home for the first time since January 15 this week. Washington hosts two of the NBA’s top teams in the Thunder and Raptors, followed by a road trip starting in Orlando on Saturday.
The Wizards have one game remaining in January, sitting at 6-6 for the month. The team has struggled with consistency throughout the entire season, but Saturday’s convincing win over the Hawks reminded the Wizards of the team they want to be: a team that shares the ball and plays for each other. Washington had 40 assists on Saturday night, even without John Wall. For a team that may be looking for an identity still, Saturday’s game will be mentioned constantly throughout the week.
The Wizards will debut their City Edition uniforms during Tuesday’s game against the Thunder. The jerseys and other The District themed gear are available for sale at the Capital One Arena Team Store and online here.
Everything you need to know about the City Edition jerseys can be found here.
This week’s full slate and details:
All eyes on Wall
John Wall missed Saturday’s game with knee soreness, a nagging injury that has now kept him out for over 10 games this season. The Wizards could really use Wall, who is considered day-to-day for Tuesday’s game, against the Thunder and Raptors this week, but will not rush him back.
In Wall’s absence on Saturday, Tomas Satoransky started in his place and had 11 points and seven assists. Tim Frazier came off the bench and dished out 14 assists along with three blocks. Not only will the Wizards need those two to step up if Wall misses more time, but Markieff Morris, Otto Porter Jr., and Kelly Oubre Jr. will need to play bigger roles offensively. Morris, who is 16-of-24 (66.7%) from the field and 6-of-8 (75.0%) from deep in his last two games, led the Wizards with 23 points on Saturday.
Wizards and Thunder match up for second time in five days
The Wizards will match up with the Thunder for the second time in five days on Tuesday to close out the January schedule. The Thunder beat the Wizards in Oklahoma City on Thursday, 121-112. Russell Westbrook had 46 points, while Bradley Beal scored 41. Washington came back from down 19 to get back in the game in the second half, but the Thunder forced 23 Wizards turnovers for 36 points and closed out the Wizards.
Since Thursday, unfortunately for the Thunder, their best defender and starting wing Andre Roberson ruptured his left patellar tendon and will miss the remainder of the season. Rookie Terrance Ferguson started in his place on Sunday, but the Thunder are a different team without Roberson. OKC’s starting five with Roberson outscored opponents by 14.2 points per 100 possessions in 539 minutes this season. With Ferguson in the lineup in 161 minutes, they’ve been outscored by 5.4 points per 100 possessions, with their Defensive Rating going from 95.9 to 117.8. The Thunder’s main starting four – Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Steven Adams – are still outscoring opponents by 6.9 points per 100 possessions, but they’re not anywhere close to the same team defensively without Roberson.
Still, the Thunder have won eight games in a row and will be one of the Wizards’ toughest home games of the season.
Eastern Conference showdown
The Wizards split their two games in Toronto earlier this season, though Wall missed both matchups. The Raptors will come to D.C. for the first time this season in a pivotal Eastern Conference matchup. Entering the week, the Raptors are 5-5 in their last 10 games and will host the Trail Blazers the day after playing in Washington.
Since the last time the teams met in November, former starter Norman Powell is basically out of the Toronto rotation. The Raptors have a fairly deep 10-man rotation, with fairly even minutes distribution among their players. All-Star starter DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry play the most, but it will be interesting to see how they divide up their minutes in the first of a back-to-back, yet important game. Wall and Beal vs. Lowry and DeRozan is always a must-see matchup, especially now that all four are All-Stars this season.
Three in four days on road starting Saturday
Starting in Orlando, the Wizards will play three games in four days on the road against the Magic, Pacers, and 76ers. After a strong start, the Magic have been struggling the last few months, with only five wins in December and January entering the week. The Wizards beat the Magic at home in both matchups, one blowout when the Magic were depleted with injuries and a closer game on January 12.
The key to beating the Magic is locking down on their main offensive threats – Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Jonathon Simmons, and Elfrid Payton. Entering this week, the Magic are 0-16 this season when held under 100 points. With two more road games in the following three days and the Celtics in town on Thursday next week, the Wizards will hope to hold Orlando under 100 points and cruise to victory.