Wizards head to Suns with slim playoff hopes
The Washington Wizards continue their Western swing Wednesday night as they head to Phoenix to face the Suns with their playoff chances all but extinguished.
Washington (30-45) opened its four-game road trip with a 124-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. The 11th-place Wizards dropped their fifth straight game and are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the second time in six seasons.
A loss by Miami (36-38) to Orlando (37-38) kept the Wizards hopes mathematically alive, but the end is very near.
"We still want to go out there and compete. We want to win. Our guys haven't given me any indication they want to do it otherwise," coach Scott Brooks told the Washington Post as the Wizards prepared to meet the Lakers. "They want to go out there and play well and play hard and come away with some wins."
LeBron James had 23 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds to lead Los Angeles, which shot 53.9 percent from the field and outrebounded the Wizards 52-39.
Bradley Beal scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half for the Wizards, who shot 43.3 percent and trailed by as many as 19 points in the third quarter before getting within single digits in the fourth.
Jabari Parker added 18 points for Washington and Tomas Satoransky had eight points and 11 assists.
Wizards guard Trevor Ariza started despite a groin injury but left for good in the first quarter.
Phoenix (17-58) saw its playoff chances dissolve long ago. Last time out, they got 59 points from Devin Booker in a 125-92 loss at the Utah Jazz, their fourth straight defeat.
Booker shot 19-for-34, made five 3-pointers and hit 16 of 17 free throws. He set a Vivint Arena record (topping the 51 points scored by Karl Malone on Dec. 9, 1995) and bettered his previous season high of 55, set in December in a triple-overtime loss to Washington.
The 59-point game came one day after the two-year anniversary of Booker's historic 70-point night in Boston and ranks third in franchise history for the most points scored by a Suns player in a single game, trailing only Tom Chambers (60) and himself (70).
"Devin is the face of the franchise," coach Igor Kokoskov said. "He's the present and future of this team."
Booker was the only player in double figures for the Suns, who have lost six of seven.
The Jazz scored 14 unanswered points to open a 40-23 lead in the second quarter and were up 62-43 halftime advantage. Booker rallied the Suns to within 14 entering the final quarter, but Utah pulled away.
"You know I take this game very seriously," Booker told the team's website. "I love the game of basketball so I always tell the team before every game, every game is a new opportunity. I don't count myself out of any game no matter what the score is, no matter who we're playing."
Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette received loud cheers as he played his second game for the Suns after completing his season in China, scoring six points in 14 minutes.
Already missing T.J. Warren (18.0 points per game), Kelly Oubre Jr. (15.2), Josh Jackson (11.0) and Tyler Johnson (10.9) due to injuries, the Suns lost Richaun Holmes when he got two quick technical fouls and was ejected just before halftime.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 27, 2019