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Game Notebook – Wizards vs. Maccabi Haifa

Wizards 101

Maccabi Haifa 95

October 15, 2014 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC


Game Stats

[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]MACCABI HAIFA[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]36-82 (.439)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]FIELD GOALS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]33-75(.440)[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]5-24 (.208)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]3-PT FG [/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]12-21 (.571)[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]24-33 (.727)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]FREE THROWS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]17-22 (.773)[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]50 (19)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]TOTAL REBOUNDS (Off.)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]35 (10)[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]27[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]TOTAL ASSISTS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]23[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]7[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]FAST BREAK POINTS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]6[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]48[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]POINTS IN THE PAINT[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]26[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]17 (18)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]TURNOVERS (Points off)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]23 (31)[/ezcol_1third_end]

Play of the Night

An #OttoSwap that sent the rock out to Friendship Heights.

A hat tip to Otto Porter’s defensive awareness here. Playing man-on-man defense, Otto evaded a screen and was lured toward the basket where he was left alone, face to face in front of Anton Shoutvin with a clear trajectory to attack the shot attempt. And he annihilated it.

This was about as preseason as it gets in the NBA: facing a touring team from a foreign country; two starters resting; another playing only one quarter; several players injured; another one gets injured. The Wizards – Maccabi Haifa game last night was an account of all those things, and somehow at the end of it all, it was the Wizards who survived.

Playing in front of a sea of Israeli flags and trolling Palestinian flags, the Wizards scuffed out a 101-95 win behind a liberating performance by Otto Porter who destroyed the stat sheet just as bad as he destroyed that Shoutvin floater. Porter was jumpy from the opening tip, crashing the glass, grabbing loose balls and drawing fouls. More on him later, though.

The Wizards were nearly plummeted by the sharp shooting of Maccabi who drained 12 of their 21 3-pointers. A good portion of those came by way of Dagan Yivzori. Dagan made my unwanted research of him for the pregame post pretty worthwhile as he knocked down a ton of those 3’s just like I suspected he would. Maccabi often curbed the Wizards defense with nice ball movement that always seemed to end up in an open look. And as ugly as their shooting forms were, they knocked them down. On the flip side, Washington couldn’t nearly match the same success. Xavier Silas. Oh man, Xavier Silas. Nice ass dude. Wants to show and prove. Has the potential to become SOMETHING of serviceability. But as the Wizards played on without John Wall after the 1st quarter, things began to fall apart systematically and the chucking commenced. Silas knocked down two wide open corner 3’s in that 1st quarter, both of them by way of cross-court laser darts from Wall. But he went just 1-for-10 from there on and after Glen Rice hobbled into the tunnel with a rolled ankle, the fear of a critical void at two-guard loomed like the tornado warning that swept over Crystal City yesterday afternoon.

All in all the Wizards made just the amount of plays they needed to pull off the win. A lot of that came by way of Kevin Seraphin, who just might consider playing in Israel when his NBA contract is up at the end of this season. Seraphin finished with 18 points and 12 boards and was one of two Wizards players who got 30+ minutes of burn.

Oh, here are some convenient highlights of the game via in-house TV camera that wasn’t given the authority to broadcast the game to the outside world.

Game MVP

Otto Porter –
7-13 FG, 1-2 3PT, 4-4 FT, 8 REB (5 off.), 4 AST, 4 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO , (+7), 19 PTS in 35 MIN

Otto played like he and Randy Wittman had the same conversation Mr. French had with Frank Costello in “The Departed”. Just reliable.

I mean, sure, when the production comes while playing against a visiting Euro squad you probably want to take it with a pinch of salt. But this is what the Wizards brought Otto in for. He’s the right-hand man. He’ll pick up a Box ‘O’ Joe for the office. He’ll drop off your dry cleaning. He’ll even stop by your grandmothers to ensure she’s taken her osteoporosis meds. With a stat sheet filled up as lucratively as Otto did last night, you can’t help but to be encapsulated by wonderment over just how effective he may become. As the games go on and the productivity becomes more frequent, the confidence builds and the game becomes a bit slower. Sprinkle a little bit of that shooting touch we saw and we may have ourselves a true small forward of the future.

A Forgettable Night For…

Glen Rice Jr. – 0-4 3PT and a swollen ankle

Ahhh, and this becomes the #SoWizards segment. It’s pretty much been a forgettable week for Glen Rice. After starting off the preseason hitting three of his four 3’s against the Bulls, Rice has gone 0-14 from downtown since. He was 0-4 from 3 last night but did hit 5-of-7 from elsewhere. A few of those were those circus-type shots we’ve been seeing often and while I’m okay with them when he makes it…never mind I’m not really okay with it. Rice needs to ripen up a bit more if he really wants to be a force and a guy who can fill the 2-guard void. This latest setback with the ankle serves as a huge wall in reaching those goals. Rice shrugged off a few of the questions asked about his ankle. He’s day-to-day as of now and we can only hope the swelling and pain lessens enough for him to play on opening night. Otherwise, we may be looking at a….wait for it……..Garrett Temple sighting in the starting 5 considering Xavier Silas is suspended? I’ll stop here.

Key stat of the game

Maccabi Haifa – 12-21 3PT, Dagan Yivzori 7-8 3PT

Kevin Seraphin noted in his post-game interview that the Wizards struggled early on because they weren’t familiar with Maccabi’s style of play. They weren’t sure which players did what or who imposed the most danger. Well, they learned pretty quickly as the Maccabi’s began raining from all over the floor while the Wizards haplessly tried to suppress it. Dagan Yivzori was lethal and took advantage of the defense’s inability to timely close out on him. A split second of time and just enough space to square up was all that was needed for a lot of the Maccabi shooters, and it nearly cost the Wizards the game.

What’s next?

The Wizards get set for a preseason rematch with the Charlotte Hornets on Friday at The Booth. With all these players falling you just wish you could just turn off injuries and simulate the rest of the preseason games up until October 29. But one measure of hope in avoiding injuries is Wittman continuing to preserve his main guys by resting them or playing them minimally, just like he did last night against Maccabi. Wittman said after the game he has no real rhyme or reason to how he rotates his veterans during preseason and it mostly depends on “the feel”. Well, let’s just hope he “feels” the pain of the injury bug at least we close out on the rest of these meaningless games.

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