Preview: Wizards host Warriors Wednesday in matchup between NBA's top scorers
Looking for their sixth consecutive win, the Wizards host the Warriors on Wednesday night at 7:00 P.M. at Capital One Arena. Washington has won five straight and seven of its last eight, most recently a 12-point win over the Thunder. Golden State, playing in the final game of a five-game road trip, is coming off an 11-point win over East-leading Philadelphia.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 P.M. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Russell Westbrook, G – Raul Neto, G – Bradley Beal, F – Deni Avdija, C – Alex Len
Warriors: G – Stephen Curry, G – Kent Bazemore, F – Andrew Wiggins, F – Draymond Greene, C – Kevon Looney
Wizards: Thomas Bryant (left ACL injury – out), Rui Hachimura (left knee soreness – out)
Warriors: Damion Lee (left great toe soreness – questionable), Eric Paschall (left hip flexor strain – out), Klay Thompson (right Achilles tendon repair – out), Juan Toscano-Anderson (concussion protocol – out), James Wiseman (right knee; meniscus tear – out)
NBA’s top-two leading scorers meet
The matchup between the Wizards and Warriors features a backcourt showdown between the league’s top-two leading scorers, Stephen Curry and Bradley Beal. At 31.4 points per game, Curry holds a slight advantage over Beal’s 31.1, riding an unbelievable scoring streak over the last three weeks. Curry has scored at least 32 points in each of his last 11 games, averaging 40.0 points on 54.1% from the field and 49.7% from 3-point range. He’s made double-digit 3-pointers in four of his last five games and has six such games over the course of the entire season, more than the rest of the NBA combined. Beal is riding a 30-point game streak of his own, sitting at five games after another strong performance on Monday night, and currently leads the NBA with 29 games with at least 30 points.
In their last meeting on April 9, Golden State held Beal in check for most of the game before a heroic effort in the fourth quarter and a game-winning four-point play with six seconds left in the game. Beal finished with 20 points, 10 of which came in the final 3:45 of the fourth quarter. Curry scored a game-high 32 points on 5-12 (.416) from 3-point range.
Wizards welcome fans back to Capital One Arena
Wednesday night will mark the first time since March 10, 2020 that the Wizards have welcomed fans into the arena. Capital One Arena was approved for 10% capacity for the remainder of the season, allowing just over 2,000 fans to attend the final seven games of the regular season. Those in attendance will get their first in-person look at Russell Westbrook in a Wizards uniform, Beal’s chase for a scoring title and the Wizards’ fight for postseason seeding.
“It’s been a long time,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said on Tuesday. “We miss them. We miss the fans, we miss the team ushers, we miss everybody and everything about a game day. I give the players a lot of credit. They’ve been really good playing in front of no fans and still bringing energy and juice. It sounds easy, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Having the fans is going to be a great day.”
“We’ve always understood and appreciated how important our season ticket members and fans are to the homecourt advantage and atmosphere at Capital One Arena, so the last 13 months without them has been particularly hard,” said MSE Chief Marketing Officer Hunter Lochmann. “They create the energy that helps drive our players, and we are all excited to welcome them back this week and for the rest of the season as we continue our playoff push.”
The team announced that Wednesday night’s game would be Fans Opening Night presented by Capital One and would feature in-game entertainment, recognition for frontline workers, discounted concessions for Capital One cardholders, a Wizards-branded face mask giveaway and more. Information on health and safety protocols at Capital One Arena can be found HERE.
Tracking the Eastern Conference postseason race
Within a month of the regular season’s conclusion, the race among Eastern Conference teams to qualify for the NBA’s newly implemented Play-In Tournament continues to tighten. With seeds 7-10 qualifying for the four-day tournament for the conference’s final two playoff seeds, more teams than ever have a shot at working their way into the postseason with a strong finish. The Wizards, winners of five in a row, have broken out of their mid-season rut and thrust themselves back into contention for the play-in – but they still have work to do. Washington, Chicago and Toronto are separated by just a half-game for the 10th and final spot in the play-in. Combined, the teams have won 10 games in a row and are gaining ground on a ninth-seeded Pacers team that has lost three straight. To make matters worse for Indiana, the team announced on Monday that star center Myles Turner would be out indefinitely with a partial tear of his plantar plate in the great toe of his right foot.
Washington is in the midst of a run of five out of six games against Western Conference opponents before closing the season with nine out of 10 games against the East, including two games against Indiana, one against Toronto and one against Charlotte, currently seeded eighth.
The NBA recently published an FAQ page covering everything fans needs to know about the new Play-In Tournament.