Preview: Wizards close road trip Monday night in San Antonio
AT&T Center | 8:30 p.m. | TV: NBCSW | Radio: 106.7 & Wizards App
The Wizards close out their four-game road trip on Monday at 8:30 p.m. against the Spurs. Washington is coming off two-straight wins against the Thunder and Mavericks while the Spurs are coming off a win over the Celtics but have lost seven of their last 10 games.
|G||Spencer Dinwiddie||Dejounte Murray|
|G||Bradley Beal||Derrick White|
|F||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||Keita Bates-Diop|
|F||Kyle Kuzma||Keldon Johnson|
|C||Daniel Gafford||Jakob Poeltl|
WIZARDS: Thomas Bryant (left ACL injury recovery – out), Rui Hachimura (not with team – out)
SPURS: Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture – out), Doug McDermott (right knee inflammation – out), Devin Vassell (right quad contusion – out)
Beal embracing new role
After becoming the sixth player in NBA history to record back-to-back seasons averaging at least 30 points per game, Bradley Beal has seen a steep decline in his nightly scoring this season. He’s averaging 23.3 points per game, his fewest since the 2017-18 season, and has scored 30-plus points only three times. Beal, however, has rounded out his game, averaging a career-high 5.2 rebounds per game and 5.9 assists per game, the second-highest average of his career. Above all, the Wizards are winning – and Beal sees plenty of correlation between the team’s success and its decreased reliance on his night-by-night scoring.
“It means the world to me to not have to make every (play),” Beal said after the win over Dallas. “I have guys I can throw the ball to, they go get a shot or create a play for somebody else. I can have a hockey assists…It’s a stepping stone for me. It’s a learning process, understanding that teams are going to double me every night, teams are going to throw some type of junk at me.”
“It’s just understanding that I don’t have to do all these things I would have had to do a year ago,” Beal continued. “I can fine-tune my game and trust my teammates to make plays and more-or-less get exactly what I want on a nightly basis.”
Checking in on the East
Despite a disappointing stretch through the middle of November headlined by four losses in five games, three of which came against East opponents, the Wizards have bounced back to hold their spot in the upper tier of the Eastern Conference standings. After back-to-back wins on Friday and Saturday night, Washington sits at 13-7 on the season, tied with Miami for the second-best record in East, just one game back of one-seed Brooklyn. The Wizards are one of 11 teams in the East at .500 or better as of Sunday night and, after Monday night’s game, will return to D.C., where they are 7-2 on the season.
Murray coming off big performance in Spurs win
Led by a standout performance from Dejounte Murray, the Spurs snapped a six-game slide on Friday night against the Celtics. Murray totaled 29 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block in the win, continuing what has been a breakout sixth season in the NBA. In 18 games, Murray is averaging 18.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 8.1 assists – all of which are career highs – and has notched a double-double in five of his last six games.
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