January 28, 2015

Given where they stand with time winding down in the postseason chase, the last thing anyone would expect the Washington Wizards to be missing is a sense of urgency.

Perhaps that's why the latest troubling loss caused Bradley Beal to vent in frustration.

After taking another hit to their playoff chances, the Wizards hope to take advantage of an opportune matchup Friday night when their road trip continues against the Phoenix Suns.

A five-game winning streak had given Washington's playoff hopes some life as the club moved within 1 1/2 games of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot on March 21.

The Wizards (36-39), though, have since dropped four of five to fall further behind with just seven games remaining. Beal seemed to have enough after they allowed Sacramento to shoot 56 percent in Wednesday's 120-111 defeat to the sub-.500 Kings.

''It felt like we gave up,'' the guard said after finishing with 24 points. ''We're just not hungry enough. If guys don't want to play they need to sit down. I'm not giving up yet.''

Washington has allowed 112.8 points per game over its last five. Opponents have shot 19 for 43 from 3-point range in the past two after the club held the Los Angeles Lakers to 7 for 28 in a 101-88 win to open this five-game trip.

''You should win every game if you score 111 points," coach Randy Wittman said.

The Wizards hope to take a step forward in that area against one of the NBA's worst shooting teams. Phoenix has shot 41.9 percent while averaging 97.9 points over its last eight games.

The Suns (20-55) shot 5 for 24 from 3-point range and committed 24 turnovers in Wednesday's 105-94 loss at Milwaukee.

P.J. Tucker had 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in the team's fourth consecutive loss, while Alex Len added 17 points and 15 boards and Devin Booker scored 18.

Booker has to be a concern for Washington after he averaged 22.4 points in March for the highest-scoring month by a Phoenix rookie since Walter Davis (25.1) in March 1978.

''Obviously, we're not in the playoffs, so we're starting to build for next year and setting the foundation of how our team is going to play,'' Booker said.

Markieff Morris will return to Phoenix for the first time since a tumultuous 4 1/2-year run with the Suns ended with his trade to Washington at the deadline. The forward had requested a deal last summer in the wake of his twin brother, Marcus, being shipped to Detroit.

The last straw may have been in December when Morris tossed a towel at then-coach Jeff Hornacek in the fourth quarter of a loss to Denver. He's averaged 14.1 points in his last seven games for the Wizards while dealing with a calf injury.

Morris was on the other side of this matchup Dec. 4 when Beal led Washington with a season-high 34 points in a 109-106 home win.

John Wall contributed 17 points and nine assists but also committed seven turnovers. The All-Star point guard has reached double digits in assists in 11 consecutive games, but he's shooting 36.5 percent on the trip and has gone 8 for 30 in the last two games for 22 points.

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