Preview: Wizards look for third-straight win Monday in Brooklyn
Barclays Center | 7:30 p.m. | TV: NBCSW & NBATV | Radio: 980 AM & Wizards App
The Wizards are back in action on Monday night, taking on the Nets at 7:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center. Washington is coming off wins over the Raptors and Pacers while the Nets are playing in the second game of a back-to-back, coming off a Sunday afternoon loss to Charlotte.
|G||Spencer Dinwiddie||James Harden|
|G||Bradley Beal||Joe Harris|
|F||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||Kevin Durant|
|F||Kyle Kuzma||Blake Griffin|
|C||Daniel Gafford||Nic Claxton|
Wizards: Bradley Beal (right hip contusion – available), Thomas Bryant (left knee injury recovery – out), Anthony Gill (right calf strain – out), Rui Hachimura (not with team – out), Cassius Winston (left hamstring strain – out)
Nets: LaMarcus Aldridge (rest – out), Bruce Brown (right calf contusion – probable), Kyrie Irving (ineligible to play – out)
Beal makes his return
Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said pregame that Bradley Beal (right hip contusion), who was a partial participant in the team’s practice on Sunday, would play Monday night against the Nets. Beal missed the Wizards’ last outing against the Pacers on Friday night, a 135-134 OT thriller in which Spencer Dinwiddie, Kyle Kuzma and Raul Neto each stepped up in the absence of the team’s All-NBA guard. He sustained the injury when taking a knee to the leg late in Washington’s season opener against the Raptors last Wednesday.
Wizards winning in multiple ways
The Wizards enter Monday night’s matchup at 2-0, with two very different looking wins. The first was a 98-83 victory over the Raptors in which both defenses suffocated the opposing offense. Washington shot just 5-27 (.185) from three, but made up for it by putting up one of its best defensive performance in years, both by total points allowed and defensive rating. Just two nights later, the Wizards won a back-and-forth offensive shootout, topping the Pacers 135-134 in overtime. Heading into the season, Washington was heralded for its versatility and rotational flexibility – made up of players capable of playing multiple positions and impacting the game in a number of ways. That has proven to be true through the team’s first two games. Over the course of the season, the Wizards will settle into a more consistent pace and style, but showing the ability to adapt to their opponent and win in multiple ways is reason for optimism.
Stopping the Nets starts with Durant
Brooklyn entered the season widely regarded as one of the most talented teams in the NBA, led by Kevin Durant and James Harden, two of the most prolific offensive players the game has ever seen. Heading into Monday, the Nets are 1-2 and are coming off a Sunday loss to the Hornets in which they were outscored 32-17 in the fourth quarter. Durant, however, was a bright spot for Brooklyn, scoring 38 points on 17-24 (.708) from the field. Asked on Sunday what the Wizards can do to slow down one of the most proficient scorers in the history of the league, Unseld Jr. said the key was to zero in on preventing the easy shots that Durant is so capable of consistently creating – and that no single player would be tasked with containing the four-time scoring champion.
“Everybody has to guard him,” Unseld Jr. said. “Honestly, he’s a generational talent and it’s unfair to say one guy has the responsibility of making his life tough. Bottom line, that’s all you can do. Make him take tough shots – which he can make – but just try to eliminate the easy looks.”
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