Washington Wizards basketball is coming back with eight games to determine if they’re worthy of getting to the playoffs. It will be challenging without Bradley Beal or Davis Bertains, both opting to sit out the NBA restart. The team has spent time at the Yacht Club at Disney World and practicing to gear up for the resumption of the season. Let’s dive into the schedule and some of the matchups we’ll see over the next few weeks.
First, the Wizards will play in three exhibition games beginning on Wed. July 22 against the Denver Nuggets. The exhibition slate will continue on July 25th against the Los Angeles Clippers before concluding against the Los Angles Lakers.
Now let’s break down the schedule for the games that count, game by game:
Friday, July 31, 4 p.m. vs. Phoenix Suns
The Wizards and Suns met only once this season which came on Nov. 27 with the Wizards coming on top 140-132. Back then the Wizards offense was on fire. They scored 74 points in the first half with Bradley Beal, Thomas Bryant, Ish Smith, and Jordan McRae all scored in double figures. The Suns were 26-39 before the season was suspended and ranked 13th in the Western Conference. One player to keep an eye on is Devin Booker who has led the Suns offense averaging over 26.0 points, 6.0 assists, and 4.0 rebounds for the second straight season.
Sunday, Aug. 2, 2 p.m. vs. Brooklyn Nets
The Wizards are 2-0 against the Brooklyn Nets winning the first game on Feb. 1 113- 107 and on Feb. 26 110-96. The Nets are the only team in Orlando that the Wizards have beaten multiple times. Brooklyn is 30-34 this season, good for seventh place in the Eastern Conference and went into the hiatus winning four of their last five games. Keep an eye on Spencer Dinwiddie who has averaged career-highs in points (20.6), assists (6.8), and rebounds (3.5).
Monday, Aug. 3, 4 p.m. vs. Indiana Pacers
The Wizards and Pacers met just once this season on Nov. 6 where Washington fell 121-106 at Indiana. Thomas Bryant, against a quality defensive opponent, scored 20 points and added 11 rebounds while Beal scored 30 points despite shooting 1-12 from the perimeter. The Pacers are 39-26 sitting at fifth in the East. The player to keep an eye on is Domantas Sabonis with Victor Oladipo sitting out the restart. Sabonis averages 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game.
Wednesday, Aug. 5, 4 p.m. vs. Philadelphia 76ers
The Wizards and Sixers met in December and split the season series with the Wizards winning the first game 119-113 and dropping the second 125-108. The win came thanks to 27 points from Rui Hachimura while Beal added 26 and Davis Bertans scored 25. Philly is sixth in the East at 39-26 and already have clinched a playoff spot. Keep your eye on Joel Embiid who leads the team with 23.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Friday, Aug. 7, 8 p.m. vs. New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans are the only team the Wizards haven’t played prior to the season’s suspension. Both games were supposed to take place in April. The Pelicans are on the outside looking in the West in 10th place. Keep your eye on Zion Williamson, the number one pick in last year’s draft. He averages 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game.
Sunday, Aug. 9, 12:30 p.m. vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Wizards beat the Thunder in the second game of the season 97-85. Their defense came through as they held the Thunder to just 15 points in the fourth quarter. Thomas Bryant had a 21 point, 11 rebound game. The Thunder had won eight of their last 10 prior to the hiatus and are in fifth place in the West with a 40- 24 record. Keep your eye on Chris Paul, who’s fourth on the team in scoring with 17.7 points per game.
Tuesday, Aug. 11, 9 p.m. vs. Milwaukee Bucks
The Wizards and the Bucks met twice with Milwaukee winning both games. The first game took place on Jan. 28 with a 151-131 final. Feb. 24 was even more exciting with a narrow 137-134 score. The second game saw Beal score 55 points, becoming the first player since Kobe Bryant in 2007 to score 50 points on back to back nights (Beal dropped 53 the previous game). The Bucks sit at first in the East with a 53-12 record. Keep a lookout for Giannis Antetokounmpoif he plays in this penultimate game. He’s averaging career highs with 29.6 points and 13.7 rebounds.
Thursday, Aug. 13, TBD vs. Boston Celtics
The Wizards and Celtics met twice with Boston winning the first one 140-133 on Nov. 13 and the Wizards winning 99-94 on Jan. 6. The second meeting that the Wizards won came thanks to Ish Smith scoring 27 points including 14 in the fourth quarter. The Celtics are third in the East with a 43-21 record. Keep your eye on Jason Tatum in this one, he averages 23.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.