NBA: With Bradley Beal ailing, Wizards set to face Heat
The Washington Wizards have enjoyed a reversal of fortune by walking away with six wins in their last seven games, but seeing their star limp off the court is cause for concern.
The Wizards begin a back-to-back series of games at the Miami Heat on Wednesday with Bradley Beal’s availability in limbo due to a right quadriceps injury.
“He’ll be evaluated and then we will make a determination,” Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said.
Beal sustained the injury during the final minute of the Wizards’ 106-102 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. He finished the game with 26 points, one shy of his total in Washington’s 107-106 overtime win over an undermanned Miami squad on Friday.
Beal has missed five of his team’s 17 games this season due to a stint in health and safety protocol following a positive test for COVID-19. He boasts team-leading averages in points (22.7) and assists (5.8) points while shooting a robust 51.2 percent from the floor.
Kyle Kuzma recorded his fifth double-double of the season after collecting 28 points and 10 rebounds against the Hornets. He had 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the previous encounter versus the Heat.
Kristaps Porzingis followed up producing 20 points, a season-high 17 rebounds and five assists against the Heat with an off-night versus Charlotte.
“He’s going to have those nights. Hopefully they’re far and few between, but he’s shot the ball at such an exceptional level, it’s almost like he was due for one of those nights,” Unseld said of Porzingis, who made just 4 of 19 attempts from the floor on Sunday.
The Wizards overcame Porzingis’ off-night to post a 5-1 record on their season-high six-game homestand. Now, the team is embarking on a stretch of 17 of its next 23 games on the road.
“We have some tough road games coming up,” Kuzma said, per NBC Sports Washington. “If we want to be a good team in this league, we have to handle business on the road and create opportunity for us.”
The Heat have struggled to handle their business on the road this season. They fell to 1-7 away from home following a fruitless four-game trek that concluded with a 105-101 setback to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.
Kyle Lowry, who scored a team-high 24 points against Washington on Friday, once again led the club with 21 versus Minnesota.
Max Strus had 19 and Bam Adebayo collected 17 points and 14 rebounds for Miami, which played without star Jimmy Butler (knee) for the third straight game as well as Tyler Herro (ankle), Duncan Robinson (ankle) and Gabe Vincent (knee).
The absences led to extended minutes for the short-handed Heat.
“I’m not saying this as an excuse: The fourth quarter, you know, the guys’ legs are probably a little bit dead from this road trip,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They’ve been playing major minutes. That’s not to take anything away from the Timberwolves. That’s certainly not to make an excuse for anything. Guys are giving everything they have.”
–Field Level Media