Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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NBA Preview: Washington Wizards (4-21) at Sacramento Kings (15-9)

Jordan Poole continues down the road toward his Golden State Warriors homecoming later in the week when he and the Washington Wizards make the second stop on their West Coast trip Monday night in Sacramento to face the Kings.

Poole, who played his first four seasons (266 games) as a member of the NBA’s Pacific Division, struggled in his return to Phoenix on Sunday night, contributing just 14 points to a 112-108 loss to the host Suns.

He shot just 5-for-17 overall and 2-for-9 on 3-pointers as the Wizards, who dominated the first half and led by as many as 16, got caught and passed by a 31-19 Suns fourth-quarter flurry.

Kings fans surely remember Poole more than most, as he averaged 12.0 points in Golden State’s seven-game elimination of Sacramento in the first round of the 2023 playoffs.

He had four double-figure scoring nights in the series, including a 22-point effort when Golden State drew even at 2-2 with a one-point win in Game 4.

Poole also contributed 22 points on two occasions to Warriors wins at Sacramento during his four regular seasons in the rivalry.

Poole wasn’t the only Wizard who wasn’t on top of his shooting game on Sunday. Kyle Kuzma, who had 17 points, went just 7-for-22 from the field, including 3-for-13 from deep. Washington shot just 30.4 percent (14-for-46) from beyond the arc.

Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. admitted afterward that he had hoped his team could ride the momentum of Friday’s 137-123 home win over the Indiana Pacers, when his club shot 56.5 percent. Poole went 12-for-18 and Kuzma 11-for-23 in that win.

In the end, he wasn’t totally disappointed with Sunday’s effort.

While the Wizards will be enduring the second night of a back-to-back, the Kings enjoyed Sunday off following a 125-104 home win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday. Sacramento has opened a six-game homestand with a pair of victories.

Keegan Murray was the star of the show Saturday, using a franchise-record 12 3-pointers as the foundation for a career-best, 47-point night. He had never previously scored more than 30 in an NBA game.

Kings coach Mike Brown insisted great individual performances are a product of great team efforts, and he applauded his team’s 36 assists on a night when De’Aaron Fox was out with an irritated right shoulder.

Fox’s injury is not considered to be serious. It’s possible he could return to face the Wizards.

Golden State is 2-1 against the Kings this season.

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