Game On: Wizards-Suns preview

Game On: Wizards-Suns preview
January 24, 2014, 1:30 pm

Mar. 20, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (right) battles for a loose ball with Washington Wizards forward Nene in the first quarter at the US Airways Center.

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

The .500 and over-.500 talk has indeed gotten old. But a win Friday night puts the Wizards back there for the fifth time. They've been good on the road where they're 3-1 this month. Phoenix, however, has its best record since the 2009-10 season when it made a run to the Western Conference finals. 

TV: There is no pregame show and instead the game will tip at 9 p.m. ET from US Airways Center in Phoenix on CSN+, the overflow channel. Radio: 1500 AM.

Last game: Wizards (20-21) lost to the Boston Celtics 113-111 OT at Verizon Center on Wednesday; Suns (24-17) beat the Indiana Pacers 124-100 at home Wednesday.

Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Nene, C Marcin Gortat. Suns –- PG Goran Dragic, SG Gerald Green, SF P.J. Tucker, PF Channing Frye, C Miles Plumlee.

[RELATED: Beal's minutes restriction stays in place for road trip]

Entry passes: 1). Gortat was traded from Phoenix to Washington a few days before the season began. 2). Frye is a true stretch four and can be a matchup problem though he's not a strong interior player. 3). Like Wall, Dragic is playing at an All-Star level, too. 4). Both teams want to play at fast pace and whichever is able to limit its turnovers probably wins. 5). After blaming himself for taking 29 shots in the loss to Boston, Wall will go out of his way to get Beal hot early. 

X-factor: Given the way the starters played in a dreadful first quarter vs. Boston, will coach Randy Wittman pull them quicker and give more time to his bench guys such as C Kevin Seraphin, F Trevor Booker, G Garrett Temple and even Fs Chris Singleton and Otto Porter? And what about G Eric Maynor, who hasn't touched the court since Dec. 28. 

He said it: "One thing about this league, it's hard to win. We have that faith and confidence in ourselves. We've had confidence on the road so hopefully we can continue that success. It all starts with us. We can't worry about the other team and what they're doing." -- Beal on the four-game road trip out West. 

Up next The Wizards will leave immediately after the game and travel to Salt Lake City, where they'll play the Utah Jazz on Saturday (CSN+, 9 ET).