Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards
WASHINGTON, DC -  DECEMBER 5: Moritz Wagner #21 of the Washington Wizards and Rui Hachimura #8 of the Washington Wizards smile during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on December 5, 2019 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Hachimura, Wagner set to return as Wizards host Warriors

The Wizards (17-31) continue a six-game homestand Monday night, hosting the Warriors (11-39) at 7:00 P.M. Washington has won three straight at home and six of its last seven at Capital One Arena. Golden State, in the midst of a five-game road trip, enters the nation’s capital coming off a 131-112 win over the Cavaliers, their first road win since December 6. The Warriors have struggled on the road all season long, going just 4-22.

The team announced Sunday night that big men Rui Hachimura and Moritz Wagner would each make their return to the lineup Monday night. Hachimura, who will be in the starting lineup for the Wizards, missed the last 23 games with a groin injury while Wagner missed the last 25 games with a sprained left ankle. Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said pregame that both player would be on a minutes restriction.

Game Info

Capital One Arena | 7:00 P.M. | NBCSW | 1500 AM

Probable Starters

Wizards: G – Isaiah Thomas, G – Gary Payton II, G – Bradley Beal, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Ian Mahinmi

Warriors: G – Jacob Evans III, G – Damion Lee, F – Glenn Robinson III, F – Draymond Green, C – Marquese Chriss

Injury Report

Wizards: Davis Bertans (neck tightness – available), Jordan McRae (sprained right ankle – out), John Wall (left Achilles rehab – out)

Warriors: Stephen Curry (left hand fracture – out), D’Angelo Russell (right quadriceps contusion – out), Klay Thompson (left ACL rehabilitation – out)

Storylines

Beal’s hot streak elevating the entire roster

Bradley Beal continued his red-hot scoring run Saturday against the Nets and now enters Monday night’s game having scored 34-plus points in six consecutive games, becoming the first Wizards player since Bernard King in 1990 to score 30-plus points in six consecutive outings. In those games, Beal is averaging 38.2 points on 53.6% from the field, 6.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. Against the Nets, Beal went 10-15 (.667) from the free throw line, joining James Harden and Allen Iverson as the only players since 1998 to attempt 15-plus free throws in four consecutive games.

While Beal’s scoring numbers jump off the box score and pay obvious dividends on the scoreboard and the win column, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks noted Saturday just how much Beal has grown mentally as a player – and how important it has been to furthering the development of the young players around him.

“He’s growing as a player as well,” Brooks said. “I think his ability to see things quicker and his ball handling is much improved over the last four years. His decision making, his playmaking. We need him to continue this. We have guys that are growing up and he is helping them grow up.”

Bryant excelling in both starting and reserve roles

In the last three games, Thomas Bryant is playing some of his best basketball of the season, recording a pair of double-doubles and averaging 18.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 blocks per game. In his last seven games, dating back to Washington’s January 20 win over the Pistons, Bryant has shot 63.0% or better in each outing. Since returning from a right foot stress reaction on January 12, Bryant has bounced back and forth between a starting role alongside Ian Mahinmi and a bench role, depending on the Wizards’ matchup. Bryant came off the bench Saturday against the Nets, but was one of Washington’s most impactful closers, scoring nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter.

Bryant’s role, like the roles of each of Washington’s bigs, will see some alterations Monday night with both Hachimura and Wagner making their returns.

Warriors’ scoring runs through Russell

While most of what the Warriors do on each end of the court runs through Draymond Green, the quarterback of the defense and team leader in rebounds and steals per game, it’s D’Angelo Russell that packs the scoring punch. Russell is averaging a team-high 23.8 points in 32 games this season and leads the team with a 32.2 usage rate. No one else on the team has a usage rate higher than 23.6.

One defensive option for the Wizards will be to match up Gary Payton II with Russell. Payton II took the assignment on Kyrie Irving Saturday night against the Nets, forcing multiple early turnovers and helping to hold the All-NBA guard to just 11 points one night after he went off for 54 against the Bulls. Payton II, with his athleticism and disruptive, long arms, has been one of Washington’s most effective defensive pieces all season long.

“My level of respect for (Payton II) has always been sky high ever since me and him were together in South Bay,” said Bryant, who also played with Payton II in the G League. “…He’s always been a defensive presence out there. For him to go out there and take the challenge head on, it’s amazing. You don’t see too many people that do that, take the challenge at hand and he’ll go out there and play as hard as he can and do what he did. I’m very proud of him.”

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