The Wizards wrap up their week-long West Coast trip tonight in Sacramento.
Golden 1 Center | 6:00 p.m. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards (3-2): G – Wall, G – Beal, F – Porter Jr., F – Oubre Jr., C – Gortat
Kings (1-4): G – Fox, G – Hield, F – Jackson, F – Labissiere, C – Cauley-Stein
Wizards: Markieff Morris (Sports Hernia – Out), Sheldon Mac (Achilles – Out)
Kings: Harry Giles (Knee – Out), Zach Randolph (Rest – Out), George Hill (Rest – Out)
As of the time of this preview being published (early Sunday morning), the NBA has yet to announce any discipline for the scrum that took place in Friday night’s game in Oakland. Bradley Beal and Draymond Green were at the center of it, but other players on both teams were also involved, so there could be multiple players facing some kind of punishment from the NBA. The Wizards have to enter Sunday’s game knowing there’s a chance they could be without some of their starters, most notably Beal, due to the actions from Friday’s game. Beal and Green were both ejected from Friday’s game at the end of the second quarter, so they may deem that as enough punishment and dish out fines, but they also could receive another game suspension, which would leave the Wizards without their star shooting guard tonight.
If Beal has to sit, the Wiz would likely move Jodie Meeks into the starting lineup in his place, or slide Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr. down a spot and start Mike Scott or Jason Smith at the PF spot, which is how they started the second half on Friday.
There is no specific deadline or time the league has to notify the teams, but it would seem likely that a decision would come out sometime Sunday morning or early afternoon.
Kings Sitting Hill and Randolph
The Kings have chosen to rest two of their veterans tonight as they’ll hold out George Hill and Zach Randolph, two of the key acquisitions they made this summer. In Hill’s place, they’ll likely give the start to rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox, who leads the team in scoring (14.8 ppg) and because of his speed and alma mater has drawn comparisons to Wizards’ point guard John Wall. In Randolph’s place, they’ll likely go with another former Kentucky Wildcat in Skal Labissiere, who has scored in double figures in four of the team’s five games and can pose some problems with his length and athleticism.
The Kings don’t have any one player who demands the ball and their scoring is evenly distributed, as they have eight different players averaging between nine and 15 points. With their two vets sitting tonight, they’ll feature an extremely young and inexperienced team tonight, but the Wizards can’t overlook this roster filled with lottery picks.
Finishing the Trip .500
After winning the first game of the trip in Denver, the Wizards certainly had hopes of leaving the West Coast with a winning record out West, but after two straight losses, they’ll now settle for a 2-2 trip before returning home. Both losses came down to the wire, and the Wizards have actually become just the second team in NBA history to have their first five games of the season all be decided by five points or less. They let double digit second half leads slip away in both of these past two games, but they can’t let the end result of those games ruin a lot of the good things they have done out West. Both Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr. are coming off career games on Friday, as Porter Jr. hit a career-high seven 3-pointers and Oubre Jr. tied his career-high with 19 points. Through the first week and a half of the season, the Wizards’ wings have looked impressive which is an encouraging sign this early in the year.
The Wizards will return home following Sunday’s game and will host the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night at Capital One Arena.