Wizards-Suns Preview




PHOENIX -- The Suns' 2-4 record on a season-high, six-game road trip is the least of the team's worries as Phoenix returns home to face the Washington Wizards on Thursday.

Star shooting guard Devin Booker, who is 10th in the NBA with a 24.3 scoring average, strained a left adductor muscle late in the Suns' 126-113 loss to the Raptors on Tuesday. The injury is expected to keep him out for two to three weeks, the team announced after Booker's MRI was read Wednesday.

While covering Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, Booker pulled up in obvious pain at midcourt, and teammates carried him off the floor with 2:40 remaining. He declined comment after the game and was seen being pushed through the Toronto airport in a wheelchair as the Suns boarded the plane home.

"I think he slid and got hit maybe, bumped, I'm not sure," Suns interim coach Jay Triano said after the game.

Booker scored a season-high 46 points in a 115-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, the Suns' third game in four nights. He has 10 30-point games this season.

The Suns do not have an obvious replacement at off guard but are likely to give more time to some combination of Troy Daniels, Mike James and perhaps top draft pick Josh Jackson, nominally a small forward. James, too, is more of a scoring point guard. Used sparingly earlier in the season, Daniels had 13 points against Toronto and is averaging 8.5 points a game in his last 11.

James, who is on a split contract, on Wednesday had spent 45 days with the Suns, the maximum amount of time a player with such a contract can spend with an NBA team. The Suns can sign him and add him to their roster, but they would have to make another player move to create room. Booker's injury does not count.

Washington (13-11) has won three of its last five games and is the only team in the Southeast Division with a winning record. The Wizards split the first two games of their current five-game road trip, earning a 106-92 victory at Portland on Tuesday.

Guard Bradley Beal had a career-high 51 points and made a career-high 21 field goals against the Trail Blazers. The victory came a day after the Wizards opened the trip with 116-69 loss at Utah, the second-largest margin of defeat in franchise history.

"I came into the game with the mindset of being aggressive, especially coming off the game last night and the way I played the last four or five games," Beal said after his 51-point outburst. "I was just playing freely and having fun. I've been thinking way too much."

Beal leads the Wizards with a 23.3-point scoring average but was 16-for-49 from the floor in his previous four games, which included an eight-point game at Minnesota on Nov. 28.

Point guard John Wall is second on the Wizards in scoring at 20.3 points a game, but he has missed six games and remains sidelined because of left knee inflammation that was treated with a platelet-rich plasma injection. The Wizards are 3-3 with Tim Frazier starting in Wall's place.

The Suns (9-17) were called for four technical fouls in the loss to Toronto, and forward TJ Warren was ejected after picking up two in the third quarter. Warren is the Suns's second-leading scorer, averaging 18.4 points a game. He had two 25-point games on the road trip.

"I don't think we stayed mentally locked in," Triano said. "We let the officiating get to us. We get technical fouls. That's part of our maturity. We are going to have to overcome that. I think when things don't go right, we look for an excuse, the referees, whatever."

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