New-Look Wizards take on Kings
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SACRAMENTO -- The new-look Washington Wizards hope to turn another track meet into a second road win when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
Without standout big man Dwight Howard on their five-game trip, and having lost backup center Ian Mahinmi to a back injury early in Monday's win at Portland, the Wizards have attempted to outrun two of the West's most potent teams this week.
It worked in Portland, where undersized big man Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre Jr. combined for 50 points in a 125-124 overtime triumph.
The up-tempo tactics weren't as successful at Golden State on Wednesday, as Stephen Curry burned the Wizards for 51 points in the first three quarters of a 144-122 drubbing.
The 247 total points for the two games were 22 more than the Wizards had amassed in their first two games in home losses to Miami and Toronto.
After the loss to the Warriors, Bradley Beal was asked what it would take to turn that kind of explosion into a higher winning percentage.
"Playing defense," he blurted. "We score 100-plus points a game. That's not the point; that's not the cause. We just can't defend anybody. Can't give up 140. You're not going to win a ball game like that."
Morris, Oubre, Beal, John Wall, Otto Porter Jr. and Jeff Green have all scored in double figures in both games of the trip.
The Wizards also had six guys average in double figures when they swept the Kings in a one-sided season series last year. Wall was the scoring leader with 19 and 21 points, shooting 15-for-22 from the field and 9-for-10 on 3-pointers.
Defense wasn't an issue for Washington against the Kings in the 110-83 and 110-92 wins, the former coming in Sacramento, also two days after a visit to Golden State. The Kings shot a combined 39.8 percent in the losses.
Sacramento is coming off its best defensive effort of the season in a 97-92 home win over Memphis on Wednesday. The Grizzlies were limited to 38.3-percent shooting in the loss.
The Kings had allowed their first four opponents to average 129.5 points. Sacramento lost three of those games.
Kings coach Dave Joerger took an unusual approach to an early season game, basically selling it to his players as a "must-win."
"We talked about the difference between being 1-4 and 2-3," he explained after the win. "So it's kind of almost a must-win against a good team who was sitting here rested. So I was really impressed with our effort."
The game featured a 23-point performance by Buddy Hield and a highlight moment for point guard De'Aaron Fox -- his first dunk of the season.
The Kings had led the NBA in field goal percentage through four games at 52.7 percent. They needed to make just 42.2 percent to beat the Grizzlies.
Nonetheless, Washington and Sacramento will enter their head-to-head as two of the highest scoring teams in the league, with the Wizards averaging 118.0 points per game and the Kings 117.2.
Updated October 25, 2018