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Wizards Preview look to match record win streak Monday vs Spurs

Wizards Preview look to match record win streak Monday vs Spurs

Wizards Wizards look vs. win Preview: to Monday match Spurs streak record

Mon, 26 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0700

The Wizards host the Spurs on

M

onday night at 7:00 P

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M

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at Capital One Arena looking to tie the longest winning streak in franchise history

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The Wizards host the Spurs on Monday night at 7:00 P.M. at Capital One Arena looking to tie the longest winning streak in franchise history. Washington has won eight games in a row, including a 119-110 win over Cleveland on Sunday. San Antonio has won four of its last five games, including a two-point win over the Pelicans on Saturday night.

GAME INFO

Capital One Arena | 7:00 P.M. | NBCSW | 1500 AM

PROBABLE STARTERS

Wizards: G – Russell Westbrook, G – Raul Neto, G – Bradley Beal, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Alex Len

Spurs: G – Derrick White, G – Dejounte Murray, F – DeMar DeRozan, F – Keldon Johnson, C – Jakob Poeltl

INJURY REPORT

Wizards: Deni Avdija (right ankle fracture – out), Thomas Bryant (left ACL injury – out), Robin Lopez (left ankle sprain – questionable), Russell Westbrook (right ankle sprain – questionable)

Spurs: Rudy Gay (lower back soreness – questionable), Trey Lyles (right ankle sprain – out), Lonnie Walker IV (headache – questionable)

STORYLINES

Wizards looking for record win streak

Another win for the Wizards on Monday night would mark their ninth consecutive victory, their 11th in their last 12 games and their sixth in a row at Capital One Arena. A ninth straight win would tie the longest streak in franchise history, a feat accomplished only four times since the team’s inception and not once since 2001. The win streak is the second-longest active streak in the league, trailing only the Knicks, who have won nine in a row. Utah’s 11-game winning streak from January 8-29 currently stands as the longest winning streak of the 2020-21 season. Despite the historical significance of the run, the team understands they still have work to do to in the final weeks of the season.

“Eight is not enough,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said after the win over the Cavaliers on Sunday. “We want to keep going. We’ve got a tough game (Monday) night against San Antonio. Eight wins is great, but we want to keep it going. It’s not going to be easy.”

Bench unit stepping up as team battles injuries

In the last week, the team sustained injuries to both of its young forwards. Deni Avdija (right ankle fracture) was sidelined for 12 weeks while Rui Hachimura (left knee soreness) missed the last four games after banging knees with an opponent in Washington’s April 17 game against Detroit. Against the Cavaliers on Sunday night, Robin Lopez exited early with a left ankle sprain and did not return while Beal went down late in the game with a leg injury. Hachimura and Beal were not listed on Monday’s injury report and are set to play against San Antonio while Lopez and Russell Westbrook are each listed as questionable with ankle sprains.

As the Wizards continue to fight through another rush of injuries, the reserve unit is stepping up and filling in the gaps. The Washington bench outscored Cleveland’s 51-14 on Sunday and has been one of the most productive units in the league in recent weeks. Raul Neto, who moved into the starting lineup when Hachimura went down with his knee injury, has now scored 14-plus points in each of the last three games.

“It’s just a matter of our guys taking advantage of the opportunities they’re given and going out and competing,” Beal said of the bench unit after the game on Sunday. “We need everybody every single night. That’s been our biggest growth in mindset, that it’s going to take all 15 for us to win and we’re going to do it on the defensive end collectively.”

Scouting the Spurs

That Wizards lost their only prior matchup of the season with the Spurs, a 10-point defeat in their first game back from a 13-day hiatus due to health and safety protocols in late January. Beal led the way with 31 points that night, but the severely shorthanded Washington roster scored just 101 as a team and were unable to overcome a balanced effort from San Antonio. That night, the Spurs were playing without starting guard Derrick White, who missed the first 19 games of the season with a toe injury. Since returning, White ranks second on the team in scoring at 15.5 points per game and has put up 22-plus points in three of his last four games. San Antonio still gets most of its production from DeMar DeRozan, who is averaging 21.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game over the team’s stretch of four wins in five games. Against the Pelicans on Saturday night, the 11-year veteran totaled a team-high 32 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Nine of those 32 points came in the final 2:55 of the game to help San Antonio seal the win.

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Wizards

Mon, 26 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0700

But, as we know this team is good at keeping their cards close to the chest

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Shortly before the deadline, the Wizards sent out Troy Brown Jr

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and Moritz Wagner in 

Washington Wizards Daniel Gafford. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Going into the trade deadline, the Washington Wizards were not expected to be big buyers, if they were even buyers at all. Some fans and writers (including myself) expected them to stand pat completely and move through the deadline with an unchanged roster.

But, as we know this team is good at keeping their cards close to the chest. Shortly before the deadline, the Wizards sent out Troy Brown Jr. and Moritz Wagner in exchange for Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchinson as part of a three team trade with the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls.

When the trade went down, I don’t think a lot of people looked at this as some major move for either side. Certainly not a needle-moving pick on par with Aaron Gordon to the Denver Nuggets or Lou Williams to the Atlanta Hawks. This one looked more like swap two intriguing young prospects (Brown and Gafford) who would benefit from a change of scenery as opposed to the move that would put any of these teams over the edge.

The move that brought Gafford and Hutchison to Washington is the type of move that has become familiar during the Tommy Sheppard era; the Wizards got two young, relatively cheap players on the fringes of their current roster. In D.C., they’re both getting a second chance. Daniel Gafford is definitely making the most of a new situation, and boy are the Wizards reaping the benefits.

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– April 26, 2021