Two of the NBA’s youngest teams will face-off Wednesday night in Phoenix, as the Washington Wizards, in the second game of their four-game stretch of road games, take on the Phoenix Suns. The 5-10 Wizards enter the contest a night after a 117-104 defeat at the hands of Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. This was the Wizards second loss in as many games. Tonight, they are playing in their third game in four days.
Phoenix is led by one of the leagues most prolific scorers in Devin Booker, who started out hot early in the season. Booker has cooled off a bit, and Phoenix find themselves at a modest 8-8. They are coming into the game against the Wizards following a loss of their own to the Nuggets, 116-104. They opened up the season 5-2 with notable defeats of postseason favorites the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers. Losers of four of their last five, Denver will look to turnaround their recent luck against Washington, who has allowed the second most points per game in the league.
Washington, who is known to put up their share of numbers on the scoreboard, are third in the league in points per game behind just the Rockets and Bucks, with three games of 44-points plus coming from the hands of all-star Bradley Beal. Their continued achilles heel has proven to be their inability to play defense for the entire 48-minutes, allowing scoring totals of 159, 140 and 132. Phoenix, who finds themselves eighth in the league in scoring, will look to use the defensive woes of Washington to their advantage. Both Beal and Booker are coming off season-low in scoring, with 14 scored for Beal in the loss and just 12 for Booker. For either team to compete and score in abundance, they will need these two franchise players to step up and put on a scoring display.
The last time these two teams met, March 27, 2019, Booker made history and lit up Washington’s defense for 50-points, his second 50-point outpour in as many games, making him the youngest player to ever accomplish such a feat. Despite Booker’s performance, Washington was able to pull that game out 124-121 behind 28-points from Beal.
With face of the franchise John Wall sidelined for what is likely the rest of the season, Beal has had to provide a bulk of the offensive production, performing in a number of roles. Through 15 games this season, he is averaging 28.5 points per game (fourth best in the league) and over seven assists to go along with it. Third-year player Thomas Bryant is proving to be a force to be reckoned with in the post, averaging 14.3 points per game, almost 9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks. Bryant will look to matchup with former Wisconsin Badger Frank Kaminsky, as Aaron Baynes is sidelined by injury.
The biggest surprise for Washington has proven to be off-season acquisition Davis Bertans, who has provided a number of sparks due to his spot-on shooting stroke from behind the arc. The former San Antonio Spur is averaging 13.1 points per game and over three three-pointers a game with a three-point percentage of 43.9. Bertans will look to slow down former Wizard Kelly Oubre Jr, who is having quite the season.
Booker, to no surprise, is leading the scoring for Phoenix with 24.8 per game along with over six assists. He will look to continue his success in an attempt to grab his first All-Star bid in his young career. Oubre, the former first round pick for Washington who they dealt away just last season, is having a career year at just 23 years old, averaging 17.6 points per game, good for second best on the team. He will look to prove his former team foolish for unloading him less than a year ago. Veteran Ricky Rubio, the teams most exciting offseason signing, will be back in action this game after sitting out the last few due to injury. Known for his passing, Rubio is averaging 12.5 points per game and over 8 assists on the seasons. The veteran point guard will be matched up with former All-Star Isiah Thomas, who has been looking to rejuvenate his career this season, filling in for the injured Wall.
The Wizards will look to continue their scoring outputs thus far against the injured Suns, who will look to capitalize on the struggling defensive efforts of Washington. Each coming off double digit losses in their last game, look for both teams to try and buckle down and turn around their recent stretches of misfortune.
After having the Thanksgiving holiday off, the Wizards will follow up their game against the Suns against Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday 11/29 at 10:30 EST, and then two days later against the other LA team, the Clippers. The Suns will be in action as well on 11/29 against the red-hot Dallas Mavericks in Phoenix. They will then travel to Charlotte on 12/2 to take on the Hornets.
This is the only time this season when the two teams will meet up in Phoenix, so tune-in for an offensive battle to remember.