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Wizards back home to face rising Suns
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards return home after a wild Western Conference road trip that had them dealing with a bump, a Ball, a tussle and some young Kings.
Before a battle Friday with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Wizards tangle Wednesday with a Phoenix Suns team coming off a comeback win while on the verge of a roster shakeup.
The Wizards (4-2) split their four-game swing with Sunday's 110-93 rout of the Sacramento Kings. Washington opened the game with a 13-0 run and for the first time all season, it didn't let a sizable lead slip away. Sinking 17 3-pointers helped as did remaining focused throughout.
That wasn't always the case in the Oct. 23 win at Denver. Washington sealed the victory after Nuggets center Nikola Jokic received a technical foul with 32.2 seconds remaining for bumping Wizards coach Scott Brooks during a dead ball.
Two days later in Los Angeles, Lonzo Ball and the Lakers, perhaps fueled by boastful comments from the Washington side, rallied for an overtime win.
The trip's headline moment came in the second quarter of Friday's 120-117 loss at Golden State. Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Warriors forward Draymond Green were both ejected after scrapping late in the second quarter. Already playing without Markieff Morris (hernia surgery), Washington couldn't hold onto an 18-point lead against the defending NBA champions.
John Wall sank three of his five 3-pointers during the opening surge against Sacramento and finished with 19 points and nine assists against the Kings.
Beal, who was fined $50,000 for his part in Friday's altercation, added 15.
"I feel like we should've finished 4-0," Wall said of the trip. "But you live with the results because we let a game slip in L.A. and we let a game slip at Golden State. When you at least finish .500 on the road trip you can live with that."
Morris, who had surgery on Sept. 22, anticipates making his season debut this week. He must serve a one-game suspension for leaving the bench during Friday's scuffle. Without its traditional power forward, Washington survived and at times thrived with a smaller look of Otto Porter (18.7 points per game) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (44.4 percent on 3-point attempts).
"Hopefully, (Oubre) continues to shoot with confidence," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "Otto knows how to play. He can play any spot on the floor and he just knows how to cut, how to space."
The Suns (3-4) aren't considered a playoff team, but they're playing like one lately. They fought back Tuesday for a 122-114 road win at Brooklyn after trailing the Nets by eight points with 6:15 remaining in the second quarter.
Devin Booker scored 32 points, Mike James had 24 and T.J. Warren added 20.
Phoenix lost an 18-point lead in the second half as Brooklyn scored 17 unanswered points. Warren had 14 in the final period as the Suns won for the third time in four games since firing coach Earl Watson and sitting Eric Bledsoe.
Jay Triano is serving as the Suns interim head coach.
Disgruntled point guard Bledsoe is away from the team and on the trading block. General manager Ryan McDonough told the Arizona Republic on Monday via text there is no timetable to move the team's second-leading scorer last season.
"We are open to doing a deal whenever the best offer presents itself," McDonough said. "Any other comments or thoughts from me would be pure speculation at this point."
Tyson Chandler's name popped up in some of the Bledsoe rumors, but the veteran center remains focused on helping the young roster. Chandler had 13 rebounds to help the Suns dominate the Nets on the board 66-44.
"Just like everybody else, I hear the rumblings," Chandler told the Arizona Republic. "I hear my name being involved in things and trade rumors but I'm at the point where I couldn't care less. I go out there and do my job until the time somebody tells me different. Then I'll have to address it."
Updated November 1, 2017