The well-rested Sacramento Kings will attempt to take advantage of road-weary travelers when they host the Washington Wizards on Friday night.
While the Kings were home relaxing Thursday after a 134-120 win over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers the night before, the Wizards were playing for the fifth time in nine days on the road, and they fell 120-112 to the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.
The trip finale Friday will give Washington six games on a 10-day trip that so far has produced just one win, 113-110 on Tuesday in Phoenix.
Presuming the Wizards’ Bradley Beal suits up for a fourth game in six days after missing six games due to a strained hamstring, the game will provide a matchup of two of the NBA’s top-scoring guards: Beal and the Kings’ De’Aaron Fox.
Beal scored 30 points in 31 minutes at Utah, giving him 86 points in 98 minutes in his past three games.
Beal and Fox have scored at least 28 points apiece in each of their last four head-to-heads, with Beal winning three of the four duels 35-31, 29-28 and 30-28. The last one came in a Wizards loss at Sacramento in their most recent visit, in December 2021.
Fox won the other matchup 33-31, and his Kings have prevailed in three of the four contests.
Beal figures to be at a disadvantage in their ninth lifetime meeting, with teammate Kristaps Porzingis likely to miss a third straight game due to an illness.
On a positive note, Rui Hachimura returned from a bruised ankle to put in 24 minutes off the Washington bench in Utah. He contributed seven points and seven rebounds.
Hachimura had missed the previous 16 games. He said it’s not about starting, it’s about finishing.
“I know how to close a game,” he said. “(I know) how to be patient and when to be aggressive.”
Fox and Domantas Sabonis have been a two-man wrecking crew as the Kings have won three of their past four games.
Fox scored at least 22 points in all four games while also finding time to mix in averages of 6.8 assists and five rebounds.
Meanwhile, Sabonis recorded double-doubles in each of the four contests while logging at least 20 points three times and at least 20 rebounds three times. He has averaged 21.3 points and 19.3 rebounds in the run while also chipping in 8.3 assists.
The Kings’ 3-1 surge comes on the heels of the team taking three losses in four games. Sacramento coach Mike Brown is impressed with how his guys responded.
“We’re competing because that’s who we are,” he said. “I always felt that, but I wanted to wait (a few months) in to see if we would continue to compete even after we got knocked on our behinds. And our guys are. I have to give them credit.”
–Field Level Media