The Wizards are home from their four-game, seven-day road trip out West after splitting the four games. Washington beat the Nuggets to open up the trip, dropped two in a row to the Lakers and Warriors, and then capped it all off with a 27-point rout over the Kings on Sunday. Sitting at 4-2, the Wizards enter the month of November with one of their starters poised to return from injury, seven of their next nine games at home, and two big matchups this week against Eastern Conference opponents.
Morris return nearing?
Markieff Morris is expected to practice on Tuesday and the team hopes he will be physically cleared to play for Wednesday’s game against the Suns. After getting sports hernia surgery on September 22, Morris is on track to return on the earlier side of his six to eight week recovery time. Morris would miss the first game he is activated for due to his one-game suspension for leaving the bench during Friday’s altercation against the Warriors.
Still, getting Morris back for this Friday’s game against the Cavaliers would be big time. Kelly Oubre Jr. has done an excellent job filling in for Morris in the starting lineup and has made a big jump in his third season, but Morris is arguably the Wizards’ x-factor. Morris’ toughness, scoring ability, and elusiveness on both ends of the floor is the difference from the team being a No. 3 seed in the East to potentially the top team in the conference.
Seven of next nine at home
It’s no secret that Washington has played extremely well at home over the last year-plus with last season’s 17-game home winning streak and 6-0 record at home during the playoffs. In fact, the Wizards have won 25 of their 30 home games in the calendar year of 2017, including last season’s playoffs. They’ll be home for seven of their next nine games, with two against the Suns and Cavaliers this week before heading to Toronto to face the Raptors on Sunday. The Wizards will look to build off their first two home wins against the Sixers and Pistons to kick off the 2017-18 season against a rebuilding Suns team and a struggling Cavaliers team.
Early, but pivotal games
The Cavaliers may be struggling with a 3-4 record and notably poor defense to start the season, but they still have LeBron James, Kevin Love, and company. Friday’s game could be an Eastern Conference preview, and the Wizards and Cavs have played some fun games over the last few seasons. Every game against the top of the East counts for tiebreaker purposes, and this is the first of four matchups between the two teams.
Sunday’s game against the Raptors will be the first of two Sunday matchups between the Wizards and Raptors in Toronto in November. Last season, the Raptors won the season series and were two games up on the Wizards to finish the season and grab the No. 3 seed. Friday’s game against Cleveland may appear as the bigger matchup because of the superstars on the floor, but Sunday’s game against the Raptors is just as important for down the road with Toronto looking once again like a contender in the East.