Suns visit Wizards, seek to start new winning streak

The Phoenix Suns will look to begin a new winning streak against the host Washington Wizards on Saturday, two days after having an 11-game run ended by Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks.

Young scored 43 points in Atlanta’s 124-115 win over Phoenix on Thursday, handing the Suns their first loss since Jan. 8.

The Suns entered that game with the second-best defense in the NBA but had no answers against Atlanta. The Hawks shot 52.4 percent from the field, including 20-for-41 (48.8 percent) from 3-point range.

«I think we just didn’t defend at the level that we usually do,» Suns guard Devin Booker said. «We missed some shots. There’s nights like that. As much as we want to win every game, and I never say we’re gonna lose one, but the day has come. So we just have to move on from it, respond how we respond, get to D.C., regroup and finish out this road trip how we want to do it.»

Booker is averaging 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists after scoring a team-high 32 points against Atlanta. He and teammate Chris Paul have been selected as reserves for the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 20.

Phoenix has won its last two meetings against Washington, which snapped a six-game losing streak by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 106-103 on Wednesday.

The Wizards won despite playing without injured starters Bradley Beal (wrist) and Thomas Bryant (ankle). Beal is expected to miss at least two more games, while Bryant could be available against Phoenix.

With Beal out, the Wizards have turned to Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Kuzma for the bulk of their scoring. Dinwiddie had his first NBA triple-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists on Wednesday, while Kuzma scored 24 points and led the defensive effort against 76ers star Joel Embiid.

Kuzma, who was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Wizards during the offseason, said he welcomes the heavier offensive load.

«Obviously I didn’t have this type of role at the beginning of the year, and it has picked up over the last two months,» he said. «I’m ready for this moment. I’ve been ready for this moment. Been asking for this moment for years. I love the game. I study the game. I care about the game, and it’s just coming easy to me right now. So just reaping the fruits of my labor and all the hard work that I put in.»

–Field Level Media