A couple of playoff hopefuls who need every win they can get go head to head Tuesday night when the Washington Wizards visit the Sacramento Kings.
Both teams are coming off much-needed wins Sunday, when the Wizards outlasted the Golden State Warriors 124-110 in San Francisco and the Kings rallied past the visiting Detroit Pistons 106-100.
Washington’s win came on a record-setting night for Bradley Beal, whose 34 points gave him 25 or more for the 18th consecutive game, breaking Walt Bellamy’s franchise record set 58 years ago.
“In this league, you can have a game here and a game there, but in order to be special, you have to play with consistent play, and Brad does,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks told reporters after the Sunday win.
“There were some defensive strategies out there (by Golden State), and we see that they were double-teaming him and then running a box-and-one, and then it seemed like a box-and-one with a double team. He found a way to get buckets. He finds a way to get teammates open. But the level of consistency that he plays with to me is what keeps him at that level of special.”
Next up for Beal: a chance on Tuesday to tie Kobe Bryant (twice) and James Harden (earlier this season) for the seventh-longest streak of scoring at least 25 in the NBA over the past 20 years.
Beal was “held” to 20 points when the Wizards were beaten 113-106 by the Kings in November. Sacramento played that night without De’Aaron Fox, who has been a catalyst to his team’s recent success.
Fox has scored 20 or more points in each of his past five games, all of which the Kings have won. The team’s only loss in the stretch — last Thursday at Oklahoma City — coincided with Fox sitting out due to an abdominal strain.
“We know the position that we are in, and we know how we have to come out every single game,” Fox stated last week. “We have to bring that type of intensity if you want to win in this league. … Everyone is fighting for positioning and teams (are) trying to get into the playoffs, so you got to bring it every night right now.”
Fox had 23 points in the Sunday win.
That victory was the start of a stretch in which the Kings will play seven of eight at home, hitting the road only for a Saturday visit to Portland
The Wizards, meanwhile, are 1-1 in a Western Conference road trip that concludes Wednesday at Portland.
While most eyes will be on Beal and Fox, another key matchup Tuesday figures to be the Wizards’ Davis Bertans and the Kings’ Harrison Barnes.
Bertans helped the Wizards squash a Warriors rally on Sunday with eight 3-pointers, the most by a visitor in San Francisco’s new Chase Center. He finished with 29 points in the win.
Meanwhile, Barnes has been coming on strong for the Kings, having put up more than 20 points in five of his past nine games. He had 26 in the earlier win at Washington.
–Field Level Media