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Wizards ready for pivotal week ahead
Washington will host the Kings and Heat and head to Miami and Toronto this week.
Monday marks the beginning of a key stretch for the Wizards as they hope to finish November strong. With five of six on the road to conclude the month, the Wizards will host two of four games this week.
Along with leading the East in scoring at 111.5 points per game, the Wizards have started to find their groove defensively. In the team’s last seven quarters, opponents have shot 51-142 (35.9%) from the field, turned the ball over 39 times for 58 points off turnovers, and Washington is giving up only 22 points per quarter. Offensively, Bradley Beal, John Wall, and Otto Porter Jr. are combining to average 61.8 points per game right now, while three other players - Kelly Oubre Jr., Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat - are averaging double figures.
A full look at the four-game week…
Mon. vs. Kings (7pm, NBCSW, NBATV/1500 AM)
Wed. at Heat (7:30pm, NBCSW/1500 AM)
Fri. vs. Heat (7pm, NBCSW/1500 AM)
Sun. at Raptors (3:30pm, NBCSW/1500 AM)
Morris heating up
After recovering from sports hernia surgery, Markieff Morris has returned to form over the last two games. Morris is averaging 17.0 points in only 18.5 minutes per game. He's made 14-of-17 field goals, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. Often regarded as the x-factor for this team, Morris is continuing to get healthy and performed well over the last two games. His minute load should increase this week as well, and he may see more time at the five position against a Heat team that will go small when Hassan Whiteside is not on the court.
Pivotal East matchups
The Wizards will play the Heat twice this week and the Raptors on Sunday. Both teams are projected to make the playoffs and compete for home court advantage in the first round, and every one of these games counts. The Heat dominated the Wizards last year and won the season series 4-0, and Washington has not forgotten that. The Wizards won in Toronto a few Sunday's ago and will look to do the same this Sunday, and this time with John Wall healthy and in the lineup.
Bench lineups to watch
In Saturday's game against the Hawks, the Wizards' all second unit lineup of Tim Frazier, Jodie Meeks, Kelly Oubre Jr., Mike Scott, and Ian Mahinmi led an important 22-6 run to win the game. Scott Brooks has been using a starter with the second unit in games this season as well, but wants to see what the all second unit group can do. Otto Porter Jr. will likely still see time with the group, while other starters could be worked in the mix.
"Gave our starters time to rest in the fourth quarter," Scott Brooks said after the win over the Hawks. "[A] Lot of good things, [a] lot of good play off the bench. Guys were moving the ball, looking for each other, and that's progress. We're going to hopefully continue to build off a game like tonight."
On Monday, the Wizards transferred forward Mike Young to the Northern Arizona Suns of the G-League. Young was previously with the Delaware 87ers, where he averaged 16.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in four games. Devin Robinson remains with the 87ers and is averaging 6.7 points in 9.5 minutes per game.