Kings-Wizards Preview

The Associated Press

The Washington Wizards have taken a couple big steps back after getting over .500 earlier in the week.

A visit from the road-challenged Sacramento Kings could help them bounce back.

The Wizards try to avoid dropping three straight for the first time in over a month Sunday against the Kings, losers of a season-worst five straight away from home.

Washington (24-25) was in high spirits after climbing above the break-even mark Monday for the first time since 2009, but little has gone its way since. After suffering a 125-118 double-overtime loss to San Antonio on Wednesday, the Wizards fell 115-113 to lowly Cleveland on Friday.

John Wall had 32 points and 10 assists, but Bradley Beal scored just nine while shooting 4 of 15. The Wizards were outrebounded 45-34 as the Cavaliers snapped a six-game skid.

"We're not a very good team. Good teams don't do that over and over and over and over again," coach Randy Wittman said. "We can get all caught up in .500, and I told you guys what that meant. Nothing. And think you've arrived. Good teams do not lose basketball games like this nine, ten, 11 times halfway through a season."

Washington allowed Cleveland to shoot 51.9 percent and dropped to 3-17 when allowing at least 103 points. The Wizards last lost three in a row Jan. 1-5.

"Until we are willing from a minimal standpoint to say,'You know what, we've got to do this every night,' then we're going to be win two, loose two, win three, loose three," Wittman added. "That's what we're going to be, and I think they can be better than that. But not with that thought process going into games like that."

Sacramento (17-33) had posted back-to-back home wins before opening a four-game trek with Friday's 99-89 loss at Boston. DeMarcus Cousins had 31 points and 16 rebounds and Isaiah Thomas scored 24, but Derrick Williams and Jason Thompson combined for 17 points while shooting 4 of 20.

The Kings were limited to 35.6 percent from the floor, their second-lowest mark this season. They have shot just 41.3 percent during their five-game skid as the visiting team.

"To start this road trip off with this kind of loss is disappointing, but we will have a chance to bounce back," coach Mike Malone said. "We got Washington coming up next and hopefully we will be able to defend at a high level."

Rudy Gay (illness) and Marcus Thornton (hip) are both uncertain to play after sitting out against the Celtics. Gay is averaging 23.4 points while shooting 55.0 percent over his last seven games.

"It was tough but in situations like that, it's an opportunity for another guy to step up," said Thomas, whose team is 0-4 without Gay. "That's all it's about, us coming together and stepping up and filling the holes of Rudy Gay and Marcus Thornton. That hurt us a little bit tonight, but we have no excuses."

Cousins is averaging 27.0 points and 14.0 boards over a three-game stretch since returning from a sprained ankle. His average of 13.8 points in five games versus Washington, however, is his second-lowest against any team.

The Kings are seeking a fourth straight win over the Wizards after taking both meetings last season by a combined three points. Thomas scored 22, including a tiebreaking floater with two seconds left, as Sacramento won 96-94 during its last visit to the nation's capital Jan. 28, 2013.

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