Preview: Can the Washington Wizards bounce back against the Phoenix Suns?

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal Kelly Oubre Jr (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal Kelly Oubre Jr (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

After a tough loss to the Denver Nuggets, the Washington Wizards will look to even out their road trip with a win over the Phoenix Suns.

Bradley Beal didn’t look like himself. Troy Brown Jr didn’t see the same success he had in his rookie year against the Denver Nuggets. And the Washington Wizards overall, well, they couldn’t find the bottom of the net for most of the night.

The loss to the Denver Nuggets was a reminder of just how far this Wizards team has to go before they’ll be competitive with the contenders. But they can bounce back with a statement win over the 8-8 Phoenix Suns.

The Load Management Diet

Most of today’s NBA top talents see rest games every now and then. It’s a trend that’s growing so quickly that it may soon be factored int league policies and regulations. But there’s no rest for Bradley Beal, who’s coming off of two consecutive 82-game seasons and led the league in minutes last season. He’s currently averaging the same amount of minutes per game as he did last year (per Basketball-Reference).

As the lone All-Star in Washington, Beal has more responsibility than most other stars across the league. And Tuesday night against Denver we saw what happens when he can’t shoulder the load.

Beal’s 28.5 points per game average is more than 14 points higher than Washington’s second-leading scorer, Thomas Bryant. But Beal was far from his average in the Mile High City. Against Denver, he scored just 14 points on 6-15 shooting from the field, and 2-10 shooting from deep. Is shouldering the team’s load on offense finally taking a toll on Beal?

Let’s hope not. Against Phoenix, Beal will have an opportunity to immediately bounce back from his last lackluster performance. He’ll be matched up with Devin Booker, who is on a tear to start the season. The Suns’ fifth-year guard is averaging 24.8 points and 6.1 assists on a blistering hot 42.9 percent from deep.

If last season was any indication, expect to see some fireworks from these two guards in Phoenix. Over their two previous contests, Booker and Beal averaged 41.5 and 34 points, respectively.

Suns to Watch For

If the NBA and it’s fans have anything in common, it’s their love for revenge games. And Wednesday night will be Kelly Oubre Jr’s second game against his former team in Washington.

Keep an eye out for the forward to continue upon what is already a career campaign in year five. Oubre is averaging a career-high 17.6 points and 5.9 rebounds in his first full season outside of Washington.

Power forward Dario Saric never donned a Wizards jersey but could be a problem for Rui Hachimura. Averaging 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds, Saric has proven is a more than capable scorer if provided the volume of touches and the right matchup.

Saric is coming off an 18-point, 17-rebound performance in a loss to the Denver Nuggets, an opponent Hahcimura struggled against. Hachimura had a much less impressive 7-point, 4-rebound game when he took on the Nuggets and finished with the lowest single-game plus/minus of anyone who played that night; -16.

Next. Bradley Beal on record-setting pace. dark

The Washington Wizards are 4-5 after a loss this season and have lost the second game of their lone back-to-back. If the Wizards want to get a win during this trip out west, this game is probably their best chance.