Preview: Wizards close six-game road trip Wednesday in Sacramento
The Wizards wrap up their six-game road trip on Wednesday night in Sacramento, taking on the Kings at 10:00 P.M. ET. Washington is coming off a win over league-leading Utah while Sacramento looks to bounce back from a loss to the Pelicans and snap a seven-game losing streak.
Golden 1 Center | 10:00 P.M. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Russell Westbrook, G – Bradley Beal, F – Deni Avdija, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Alex Len
Kings: G – De'Aaron Fox, G – Tyrese Haliburton, F – Harrison Barnes, F – Maurice Harkless, C – Hassan Whiteside
Wizards: Thomas Bryant (left ACL injury – out)
Kings: Marvin Bagley III (left fourth metacarpal fracture – out), Buddy Hield (illness – questionable), Richaun Holmes (right hamstring tightness – doubtful)
Wizards hope improved shooting leads to different result vs. Kings
Washington’s game against Sacramento on Wednesday will be the teams’ second and final matchup of the season. In their first, the Wizards came back from a double-digit fourth quarter deficit, tied the game at 119 apiece with 22 seconds left only to fall at the hands of De’Aaron Fox, who knocked down the game-winning jumper with 0.7 seconds remaining. Bradley Beal led the way with 29 points on 60.0% shooting and Russell Westbrook recorded his 12th triple-double of the season with 26 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists – including 11 of the Wizards’ 13 points in the final four minutes of the game.
Outside of the final minutes, that game was decided by 3-point shooting. Sacramento shot 10-33 (.303) from deep, including three triples from Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield, while Washington hit just 4-25 (.160). The Wizards’ four 3-pointers were the fewest they’ve made in a game since November 16, 2018. The performance came at the height of the team’s 3-point shooting struggles, which have improved marginally in recent weeks as the team has gotten healthy. The Wizards have knocked down nine-plus threes in four of their last five games and shot 36.0% or better in three of their last four outings.
Wizards centers meshing as Gafford returns
As Daniel Gafford missed six games in a row following a right ankle sprain in his second game with the team, Robin Lopez and Alex Len kept Washington’s frontcourt presence alive. From March 30 until April 9, Lopez played his best basketball of the season, averaging 15.0 points on 74.5 shooting to go along with 4.7 rebounds per game. He scored a season-high 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Wizards’ win over the Warriors, Washington’s final game without Gafford. Len scored in double figures in four of the six games and grabbed five-plus rebounds in all but one. Since Gafford’s return from the ankle injury, he, Lopez and Len have blended well. Minutes have been split, but high production and efficiency levels have been a boost for the Wizards on both ends. Lopez has taken only nine shots in the last two games, but made eight of them and Gafford is coming off a 15-point performance in which he shot 6-8 (.750) from the field in just 18 minutes in Washington’s win over the Jazz.
Sacramento looking to end slide
Sacramento comes into Wednesday’s matchup having lost its last seven games, five of which have come by double-digits. The Kings’ season thus far has been defined by extended winning and losing streaks. Just before this recent run of losses, they had won five straight, including a 17-point win over the Spurs and a 22-point win over the Warriors. Starting in late January, they won seven of eight games just before losing nine straight. One constant for Sacramento this season has been point guard De’Aaron Fox, who is averaging 25.0 points and 7.1 assists per game. He’s scored 30-plus points in three of his last four games, including a 43-point, six-rebound, six-assist performance in the Kings’ loss to the Pelicans on Monday night.