The only constant for the Wizards’ lineup this season has been change. And that won’t change when Washington plays the New York Knicks for the second time in less than a week on Saturday.
While the Wizards will get guard Isaiah Thomas back after a two-game league suspension, they could be without leading scorer Bradley Beal, who is questionable for Saturday’s game in the nation’s capital.
Beal, who has played in every game thus far and has not missed a regular-season or playoff game since April 2017, left Thursday’s 132-102 loss in Detroit with soreness in his lower right leg.
“He wanted to keep playing, but the bottom line is we were down a big number (and we thought it was) wise to let him sit out the rest of the game,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks told reporters after the game.
Beal did not practice Friday though his MRI exam came back clean, according to Brooks. Beal has played in 194 consecutive regular-season games.
While Beal’s status is unknown, the Wizards will be without rookie Rui Hachimura (groin), Davis Bertans (quad strain) and center Thomas Bryant (foot) on Saturday. Bryant did practice with the Wizards on Friday and is getting closer to a return.
The undermanned Wizards fell behind early against Detroit, whom they had beaten twice this season, and never challenged. The Pistons led 68-48 at halftime and put the game away with a 28-15 run in the third quarter.
Wizards rookie Anzejs Pasecniks had a career-high 17 points off the bench and Beal scored 15 before departing. Jordan McRae also scored 15 points in his first game back after missing 10 following surgery on his right ring finger.
“We didn’t play well,” Brooks said. “They had a great game. They came back healthy and their bigs were a handful.”
Washington defeated New York 121-115 on Monday behind 30 points from Beal and career-high 26 points from Troy Brown Jr. Julius Randle led New York with 35 points.
The Knicks rebounded from that loss and ended a three-game losing streak with 94-82 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday.
Randle scored 33 points on 14-of-26 shooting — including 5 of 9 from beyond the arc — and added eight rebounds.
“The game on Monday we got off to a great start, we just didn’t sustain it,” Knicks interim coach Mike Miller told reporters. “So tonight, I was really pleased because we played a very good offensive team and they hit you so many different ways. As you go in, when you play a team that good you have to try and slow them down somehow.”
Miller is 4-6 since taking over for David Fizdale, who was 4-18 when he was fired in December during an eight-game losing streak.
Marcus Morris added 22 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks against the Nets while Elfrid Payton finished with 13 points. Mitchell Robinson had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“It’s been a tough stretch for us,” said Morris, who missed Monday’s game against the Wizards due to an Achilles injury. “There’s been a lot of ups and downs. This is a positive we can take away.”
The Wizards are 4-7 at home this season and 2-8 in their last 10 games overall. New York is 4-12 on the road.
–Field Level Media