Washington Wizards

Warriors, Durant hope for happier homecoming against Wizards


Warriors, Durant hope for happier homecoming against Wizards

Kevin Durant returns to familiar surroundings Wednesday when the Warriors face the Wizards at Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 5:05.

Durant would like to erase the memories of exactly one year ago, when the native of nearby Seat Pleasant, Md. visited D.C. with the Warriors and lasted only 93 seconds before sustaining an MCL sprain that forced him to miss five weeks.

The Warriors (47-14) have won three straight since the All-Star break.

The Wizards (36-25) are 3-1 since the break and are 10-3 since star guard John Wall left the lineup with a knee injury.


Warriors by 9


Klay Thompson vs. Bradley Beal: Thompson’s two-way excellence was on display the last two games, with superb defense in a win over the Thunder before cooking the Knicks for 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting in New York. Beal can’t defend at Thompson’s level but he’s averaging a team-high 23.7 ppg to Thompson’s 20.0. Beal will have to generate offense, and that should be a tall task against Thompson.


Warriors: G Pat McCaw (L wrist fracture) is listed as out.

Wizards: G John Wall (L knee surgery) is listed as out.


Warriors: 7-3.

Wizards: 7-3.


Marc Davis (crew chief), Brian Forte, Leon Wood


The Warriors won the first meeting this season, 120-117, on Oct. 27 at Oracle Arena. The teams split a pair of games last season, each winning on its home court. The Warriors are 6-1 against Washington in the Steve Kerr era.


PASSING FRENZY: After leading the NBA in assists the last three seasons, the Warriors are known for their ball movement. The Wizards are not -- until Wall went down. In the 13 games since he left the lineup, they’ve averaged 30.2 assists, tying the Warriors for tops in the league during that span.

THE BENCHES: The Warriors should have an advantage here, as their reserves are tops in offensive rating (111.5) and second in net rating (8.5). Wall’s absence clearly has affected Washington’s depth, and it’s evident mostly on defense, where its rating has fallen to 23rd in the league.

FATIGUE FACTOR: While the Warriors took the day off on Tuesday, Washington was facing the Bucks in Milwaukee. Moreover, the game was tight throughout the fourth quarter, forcing the Wizards to keep their starters in the game down the stretch. Can the Warriors take advantage?

Gameday: Kings looking for redemption after rough night in New York


Gameday: Kings looking for redemption after rough night in New York

The Sacramento Kings hit Washington Monday evening looking to wash the sour taste of the Big Apple out of their mouths. Waiting for them are the high-powered Wizards who come in riding a two-game win streak.

Sacramento watched star big man Kristaps Porzingis catch fire in New York on Saturday night. The Latvian-born center posted 34 points in just 27 minutes of action while sitting out the entire fouth quarter of the Knicks blowout win.

Skal Labissiere scored 19 points for Sacramento against New York, but most of those came long after the game was decided. They’ll need a stronger effort from all 13 active players on the roster if they hope to slow John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter.


Wizards by 11.5


Garrett Temple vs. Bradley Beal -- Beal is one of the better pure shooters in the league and he’ll square off against a familiar face. Temple spent four seasons in Washington before joining the KIngs last summer. It’s an offensive juggernaut versus a 3-and-D wing.


Kings: 3-9, fifth place in Pacific

Wizards: 7-5, second place in Southeast


Kings: F Vince Carter (kidney stones) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out.

Wizards: G Sheldon Mac (leg) out.


HOW LONG WILL DAVE JOERGER STICK WITH GEORGE HILL -- Sacramento paid big money for Hill in the offseason and the veteran point guard is off to an extremely slow start. De’Aaron Fox is showing improvement on a nightly basis and he’s outplayed Hill on most nights. At some point, Hill is either going to have to step up or step aside.

NO OFFENSE -- The Kings are struggling to find consistent performances from almost everyone on the roster so far this season. Their leading scorer averages just 12.8 points per game and he’s 36-year-old. Only three players average in double-figures for Sacramento and their 94.8 points per game ranks 29 in the league.

PUSH THE TEMPO -- Despite a roster full of young guys, the Sacramento Kings are 28th in the league in pace at 96.1. They need to get out and stretch their legs a bit, even if that means Zach Randolph gets a piggyback ride up and down the court from Bogdan Bogdanovic.


Washington swept the season series between the two teams last year and hammered Sacramento 110-83 at Golden 1 Center in late October. The Kings still hold a 104-91 advantage all-time over the Wizards, but Washington leads the series 32-31 during the Sacramento-era.

Kings probably won't try that lineup experiment again anytime soon

Kings probably won't try that lineup experiment again anytime soon

SACRAMENTO -- They don’t call it a process for nothing. The Sacramento Kings attempted to skip a few steps in the evolution of a young team Sunday night against the Washington Wizards. It didn’t go well.

The decision was made to sit veterans George Hill and Zach Randolph, allowing the duo to rest just six games into an 82-game schedule. The idea was to allow the club’s young players to experience something different. The test went poorly and probably won’t be repeated anytime soon.

“I disagree with the mindset that you go out and do this every night and that’s how you learn to play in the league,” coach Dave Joerger said. “I think competing and competing for minutes and earning and deserving them, which is what we’ve been trying to do, is the best way to learn how to win.”

But with Hill and Randolph both off to slow starts and so many young players needing an opportunity, the Kings went young.

Rookies De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic made their first career starts. Buddy Hield and Skal Labissiere have a combined 78 starts under their belt and Willie Cauley-Stein was the seasoned vet with just two full seasons of NBA experience.

The Wizards came in prepared. They jumped all over the young Kings, rattling off 13 straight points before Sacramento could find the bottom of the net in their own gym. They led by 19 at the end of the first quarter and 31 before the half, ending the game before Sacramento could get an ounce of momentum behind them.

“Obviously, we started bad again,” Bogdanovic said following the game. “We’ve got to work on it - better start, better opening to the game. It’s tough when you play against these teams. They are consecutive playoff teams and they play high IQ basketball.”

Washington knows where the Kings are at. It wasn’t that long ago that John Wall and Bradley Beal were a young core struggling to build something. They won 29 games in their first season together during 2012-13 season, which helped yield Otto Porter with the third overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft.

The Wizards have built around these three players for the last four seasons, adding pieces when necessary, but with the idea that this is their core. They went 49-33 last season, good enough for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. It’s a model that gives the Kings another possible blueprint to follow.

“We’re still young,” Skal Labissiere said following the Kings 110-83 to the Wizards. “The Wizards basically started like us if you look at it and look at where they are now. It’s just going to take time.”

Joerger took a cautious approach to player development last season and through the first few weeks of the season, it appeared that would be the plan again. But the Kings are off to a slow start and the young players have outshined the veterans. They took a gamble on Sunday and it didn’t pan out.

“You can see the talent here,” Bogdanovic said. “We have many talented guys here. It’s about time and experience.”

Sacramento is in search of a core. Fox and Bogdanovic are showing signs that they are building blocks. Hield, Labissiere and Cauley-Stein have thrown their names in the hat as well. Justin Jackson, Frank Mason, Malachi Richardson and Georgios Papagiannis need developing and Harry Giles hasn’t even stepped on the floor. So many young bodies, so few minutes to go around.

There are going to be plenty of nights like Sunday, especially if the Kings try to run before learning how to crawl. Patience is more than a tagline as the Kings start at the beginning.