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Game Preview: Bradley Beal returns to Washington for the first time since being traded

Phoenix looks to bounce back after suffering loss to Atlanta on Friday.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Washington Wizards (9-39) vs. Phoenix Suns (28-21)

When: 1:30 p.m. AZ Time

Watch: NBA TV, Arizona’s Family 3TV

Listen: 98.7 FM


Bradley Beal made his mark on the Washington Wizards in his 11 seasons with the franchise. The Florida alum made three All-Star games and received an All-NBA nod in 2021 during his time in the Nation’s Capitol. Today, he returns to where his career started for the first time since being traded this past offseason.

Since suffering a nasal fracture nine days ago, Beal has been slumping. Averaging just 13.5 points per game on 34.5 percent shooting from the field, he has an opportunity against a significantly inferior opponent to perform at a high level and get back into a groove.

Going into the matchup, Beal does not know what to expect in his return but has an open mind.

The Washington Wizards are one of the worst teams in the league. The Suns have an opportunity to finish this seven-game road trip 4-3 with a victory, something they are heavily favored to do. Despite a close matchup earlier in the year, the Valley looks to blow past Washington with their newfound continuity and star power.

Probable Starters

PHOENIX

  • Bradley Beal
  • Devin Booker
  • Grayson Allen
  • Kevin Durant
  • Jusuf Nurkić

WASHINGTON

  • Tyus Jones
  • Jordan Poole
  • Corey Kispert
  • Deni Avdija
  • Daniel Gafford

Uniform Matchup

Injury Report

Suns

Bradley Beal – AVAILABLE (Nasal Fracture)

Damion Lee – OUT (Right Meniscus Surgery)

Wizards

Marvin Bagley III – OUT (Lower Back Contusion)

Bilal Coulibaly – QUESTIONABLE (Lower Back Contusion)

Tyus Jones – QUESTIONABLE (Right Ankle Sprain)

Kyle Kuzma – OUT (Left Shoulder soreness)

Isaiah Livers – OUT (Right Hip)

What to Watch For

The Wizards have the third-worst defensive rating in the league this season. A good opportunity presents the Valley’s stars to have an offensive explosion. Devin Booker recently won Western Conference Player of the Month honors, and Kevin Durant recently had 83 points in a two-game stretch.

An offensive eruption may be on the horizon for Phoenix against a poor defensive foe.

Bradley Beal’s return to Washington is the second return game this week for a top Suns player. Kevin Durant’s return to the Nets appeared amicable between him and the organization. Before this season, Beal spent the entirety of his career in DC, giving Wizards fans a chance to become emotionally connected to him for a long time.

Beal and the Wizards never made it past round two of the Eastern Conference Playoffs; however, he and John Wall had many exciting years with the team throughout the 2010s. It will be interesting to see the crowd reception he gets throughout the game.

Key To a Suns Win

If the team maintains a strong focus throughout the game, the Suns should have no problem beating the Wizards. Phoenix has too much talent for Washington to compete with them. Getting off to a good start could help the Valley take care of their opponent early in the contest, providing much-needed rest for their top talent.

The Wizards will not have their best player in the lineup. Forward Kyle Kuzma, who leads the team in scoring at 21.8 points per game, is out with shoulder soreness, weakening the Suns’ competition even more.

Prediction

The Suns are too focused right now to blow this type of game. The Wizards are one of just two teams in the NBA to have less than ten wins, and the squad won just three games last month. Give me the Valley going away.

Suns 133, Wizards 101

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