Wizards, Suns struggle to find win column
WASHINGTON -- The Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards have suffered surprising losses in recent games. Then again, the way they're racking up setbacks, the shock is starting to wear off.
The Suns (4-10) fell to the 76ers 120-105 Saturday night in a start-to-finish beat-down against a Philadelphia team that entered the week with one win. Now the 76ers are up to three victories as they downed the Wizards 109-102 on Wednesday.
The Suns and Wizards meet Monday night at 7:00 p.m.
Washington (3-9) rebounded with a victory Thursday over the New York Knicks, but momentum quickly faded. The Wizards lost 114-111 to the Heat Saturday night against a Miami team that entered 28th in the NBA in scoring.
Eric Bledsoe scored 27 points against Philadelphia as Phoenix fell to 1-3 on its current six-game road trip. 76ers rookie center Joel Embiid set a career-high 26 points.
"You give any team confidence at home and they can get rolling," Suns coach Earl Watson said. "They have a lot of confidence here. Their crowd was energetic and Embiid in limited minutes was more than effective."
It's unclear what the Suns will receive from second-year guard and leading scorer Devin Booker for the remainder of this stretch because of a sprained left ankle. The perimeter threat averages 19.2 points, but had only 10 Saturday.
"He struggled," Watson said of Booker. "He gave all he had. He knew he wanted to play because we didn't have T.J. He sacrificed his body. That's just the type of person he is. You could see he could barely move."
The Suns were without forward T.J. Warren (illness) and C Tyson Chandler (personal reasons) in Philadelphia.
Miami attacked Washington off the dribble, dominated the boards 48-38 and sank 13 of 27 from beyond the 3-point arc. The Wizards faded in the second half, trailing by 17 points midway through the fourth quarter before an unsuccessful rally.
"We're getting beat off the dribble, (allowing) offensive rebounds and we're not guarding the 3-point line," Wizards coach Scott Brooks lamented. "We have to get better at playing defense. That's the bottom line."
Guards John Wall and Bradley Beal each set season-highs with 34 points, but the Heat set a season-best scoring total.
"They got wide open 3s," Wall said after the middle contest of a three-game homestand. "They had some guys that usually don't make shots that made shots because they were basically workout shots. There was nobody there to contest them."
Another defensive challenge comes against the Suns, who average 108.4 points, sixth in the NBA.
Markieff Morris left in the second quarter with a sprained ankle and did not return, though was walking without an issue in the postgame locker room. Traded from Phoenix to Washington last February, Morris is hopeful to face his former team Monday.