Preview: Wizards face Warriors Friday night
Coming off a win over the Magic, the Wizards head west to continue their six-game road trip, taking on the Warriors at 10:00 P.M. on Friday night in San Francisco. Washington will look to build on one of the team’s best offensive performances of the season in which they scored 131 points and knocked down a season-high 19 threes. Golden State had lost seven of eight before a one-point win over Milwaukee on Tuesday night.
Chase Center | 10:00 P.M. | NBCSW & NBATV | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Russell Westbrook, G – Bradley Beal, F – Deni Avdija, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Alex Len
Warriors: G – Stephen Curry, G – Andrew Wiggins, F – Kelly Oubre Jr., F – Draymond Green, C – James Wiseman
Wizards: Bradley Beal (right hip contusion – available), Thomas Bryant (left ACL injury – out), Daniel Gafford (right ankle sprain – out)
Warriors: Eric Paschall (left hip flexor strain – out), Klay Thompson (right Achilles tendon repair – out)
Wizards head west after two games in Florida
The Wizards have been away from D.C. since their April 3 matchup with the Mavericks and just concluded a two-game run in Florida against the Raptors – playing in Tampa – and the Magic. Washington now travels from Orlando across the country to the Bay Area to open a stretch of four games out west (Golden State, Phoenix, Utah and Sacramento). The nature of the trip is demanding and historically unusual, but Wizards head coach Scott Brooks says it falls right in line with the rest of the unprecedented circumstances of the 2020-21 season.
“I don’t ever remember starting east to a West Coast trip,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said before Monday’s game against the Raptors. “That’s definitely a first time, I think. I could be wrong – the years all blend together…It’s been a unique season in itself for a lot of different reasons. This actually, this part of the schedule actually fits into the craziness of the season…We’re going to spend a lot of time together. This is an important road trip.”
Season-best offensive performance comes at the right time
Washington is coming off a game against Orlando in which the team set season highs in offensive rating (133.7), assist ratio (25.0) and true shooting percentage (71.2). Players commented after the game about a noticeable uptick in ball movement – and with Bradley Beal and Rui Hachimura back in the lineup, shots were distributed throughout the rotation. Beal led the way with 19 shots, which came in below his season average. Davis Bertans, Russell Westbrook and Robin Lopez each took 11 shots. Deni Avdija shot 10 and Rui Hachimura took nine. Furthermore, the Wizards managed to keep the ball alive in half-court sets without turning it over, assisting on 35 of 49 makes and committing just 13 turnovers.
“I thought it was great,” Robin Lopez said postgame. “The ball was flowing. When people got to their shots, they didn’t pass them up. They took their shots and that’s something that needs to happen in the flow of the offense.”
“I feel like tonight we were really moving the ball, getting it in the paint, doing a good job creating for the next man and we were just confident taking those shots,” Beal said. “I think the past five games, even a little bit before, we would pass up a lot of these shots – even second-guess ourselves. Those type of things lead to bad shots and bad turnovers. I think we did a better job of being cognizant of open shots and better shots.”
Curry’s return provides a spark for Warriors
The Warriors put up one of their most impressive wins of the season on Tuesday night, topping the 32-18 Bucks by one point in Golden State. They were led by Stephen Curry, who scored a game-high 41 points on 14-21 (.667) from the field, 5-10 (.500) from 3-point range and 8-9 (.888) from the free throw line. He scored 30 of his 41 points in the second half and helped erase a 10-point deficit with four minutes left in the game. Curry has now played in four of the last five games after missing five straight due to a tailbone contusion. In those four games played, his scoring total has grown in each: 32, 36, 37 and then 41 points. Golden State relies heavily on the two-time MVP, posting a 23-20 (.534) record when he is in the lineup and a 1-7 (.125) record when he does not play. In his one absence earlier this week, the second game of a back-to-back, the Warriors lost to the Raptors by 53 points.