The Washington Wizards are finally, (assuming no new positive COVID-19 tests or other setbacks), getting back onto the court tomorrow when they travel to San Antonio for an 8 p.m. EST start. Since the Wizards last played on Jan. 11, they have been forced to postpone six games, cancel numerous practices and sign former Maryland star Alex Len to provide depth at the center position. After resuming practices with low numbers — and some moments of Bradley Beal guarding Robin Lopez — conditioning will be a focal point following a prolonged hiatus.
When: Sunday, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington
Wizards: Russell Westbrook (Quad, Day-to-Day), Troy Brown Jr. (Coronavirus protocol, Day-to-Day), Deni Avdija (Coronavirus protocol, Day-to-Day), Davis Bertans (Coronavirus protocol, Day-to-Day), Ish Smith (Coronavirus protocol, Day-to-Day), Moritz Wagner (Coronavirus protocol, Day-to-Day), Rui Hachimura (Coronavirus protocol, Day-to-Day), Thomas Bryant (ACL, Out)
Spurs: Drew Eubanks (Questionable), Dejounte Murray (Questionable), Quinndary Weatherspoon (Questionable), Derrick White (Out)
3–9 or 4–8? — Even if the Wizards were to lose against the Spurs, thanks to Detroit playing four more games than Washington, Scott Brooks’ side would not drop into last place in the Eastern Conference...so there’s that. With a win, the Wizards would move “improve” to 4–8 in a division where the top team is the 8–7 Atlanta Hawks. A win also would lift the spirits of a team that hasn’t had many positives in the last 12 days.
Silver Linings Whiteboard — The Wizards are back! After going just shy of two weeks without this lovable, yet frustrating, team, it is just nice to have basketball back in the nation’s capital. One could choose to look at all the players who will be missing in the coming days, or the Wizards’ return can be seen through a glass-half-full lens.
Fresh Faces — On that note, the mass absences of regular players gives Brooks a chance to give minutes to players on the fringe of the rotation he has been hesitant to play thus far — players like Isaac Bonga, Anthony Gill, Garrison Matthews, Jerome Robinson and Cassius Winston. Just look at the spark Matthews brought when filling in for Westbrook. Make no mistake, it will be an eclectic mix on the court come Sunday, if not one that teases to captivate.
Flashback: DeMar DeRozan 360 layup against the Clippers
Even without a three-point game, DeMar DeRozan is still capable of the superb, as evidenced by his acrobatics against L.A. back in 2018. The Wizards will need to contain DeRozan and his arsenal of two-point shots, as well as savvy veteran LaMarcus Aldridge, should they grab their first victory in almost two weeks.