John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards host Paul George, Myles Turner and the Indiana Pacers on Friday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.
Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…
WASHINGTON WIZARDS vs. INDIANA PACERS
Where: Verizon Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: CSN (coverage begins at 7:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM
Three things to watch...
Mahinmi faces former team
Wizards backup center Ian Mahinmi is expected to do something for the first time all season on Friday night: play in consecutive games. The 30-year-old big man played his first game on Nov. 26 after recovering for six weeks from a partially torn left meniscus only to go right back down with right knee tendinitis. Over two months later, and after he underwent platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment on both knees, Mahinmi finally returned in the Wizards' win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
Mahinmi will look to take another step after playing just 14 minutes in his return on Friday. This next game happens to come against his former team, the Pacers, whom he left to join the Wizards in free agency. Mahinmi missed the first two meetings between the teams, so this is his first shot at his former running mates.
Morris likely to return
The Wizards announced some surprising news just before tip-off against the Nets, that power forward Markieff Morris would sit due to a sore right calf. Morris went through warmups at the Barclays Center and told the coaching staff he couldn't go.
"I thought there was a possibility that he would not play but I thought he would," head coach Scott Brooks said after the overtime win. "We're going to be safe with all of our guys, not just the starters. He felt that he couldn't go. I respect him. That guy loves to play."
Brooks pointed out how Morris has played in 50 of the Wizards' 52 games this season, and the injury sounds very minor. But still, his mobility bears watching given how important Morris has been lately - he's averaged 17.2 points and 8.4 rebounds in his last 18 games - and how much Kelly Oubre, Jr. struggled in his place against Brooklyn (0 points, three rebounds in 33 minutes). Morris has been a big part of the Wizards' recent resurgence and they will be glad to have him back, even if he's not quite 100 percent.
Pacers are playing well
It's no secret that the Wizards have been on a roll lately. Since beginning the season a staggering 2-8, they have rebounded to go 29-13 over their last 42 games, or slightly more than half a season. On Monday they had a seven-game win streak and 17-game home win streak snapped by the Cavaliers, but took the defending champions to overtime in the loss.
The Wizards have been hot lately, but the Pacers haven't been far behind. Since the last time the two teams played, on Dec. 30 in Washington, the Wizards have the best record in the East (16-5), while the Pacers are tied for the second-best (14-5) with the Celtics. Only the Warriors have been better than both teams in that span. And during this stretch, the Wizards rank first (48.8) and the Pacers second (48.7) in field goal percentage among Eastern Conference teams, respectively. The two teams will meet on Friday and something has to give.