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Key Takeaways from the Wizards Preseason

The Wizards open their season this Thursday night in Atlanta when they take on the Hawks. For those that missed the preseason, here is a look back at each of the Wizards’ seven preseason games.

vs. Heat: L, 95-106

The Wizards kicked off their preseason slate with a home game against a different Miami Heat team than we are accustomed to seeing with Dwayne Wade now playing for the Bulls. However, the result ended similar to their contests last season. Though this was still only the first preseason game. Washington once again had trouble stopping Hassan Whiteside, who led the way for the Heat with 20 points, including 16 from just the first quarter alone. Speaking of the first quarter, the Wizards got off to a slow start, trailing by 13 at the end of the opening quarter. They also had trouble defensively around the perimeter as the Heat shot 11 of 23 behind the arc. Sophomore Kelley Oubre Jr. led DC with 16 points. Bradley Beal also had a great game, with 12 points and some smart decisions when driving in the line. One new player that you will see this season is Tomas Satoransky, a 2012 second round draft pick who signed with the Wizards over the summer. He played overseas for FC Barcelona Lassa for two years prior to joining the Wizards. He finished with eight points, six assists and five rebounds. Marcin Gortat led the Wizards with six rebounds while adding 10 points inside the paint.

Key takeaway: Tomas Satoransky didn’t disappoint in his first basketball game in the U.S. Despite being an NBA “rookie,” he looked like a seasoned vet – because, well, he played five years professionally in Europe. Saty finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal in 31 minutes of action. He knows how to get open too, as you can see here:

at 76ers: W, 125-119 (2 OT)

The Wizards got their first win of the preseason in thrilling fashion, grinding out a win in double overtime in Philadelphia. Up by eight with 2:34 left in the fourth quarter, the Wizards were unable to hang on. The Sixers went on an 11-3 run that featured a couple of turnovers by Washington to force overtime. Kelly Oubre got a clutch bucket with 29 seconds to go in the first overtime to put Washington ahead 108-107. Sheldon McClellan hit a pair of free throws to put the visitors up by three. A comfortable lead with 10 seconds left sealed the win, right? Wrong. Hollis Thompson hit a three-pointer a few seconds later to extend the game for another five minutes. Kelly Oubre, McClellan, and Tomas Satoransky each had some key baskets in the second overtime session for a 125-119 win. Oubre led the Wizards with 24 points on 8-12 shooting. The Wizards starters struggled in the beginning with John Wall out of the lineup for the second straight game. Bradley Beal and Trey Burke each combined to shoot 6-17 from the field. Among the starters, Marcin Gortat had the best game. The “Polish Hammer” finished with 17 points on 12 shots including some offensive putbacks. Ian Mahinmi, who was signed by the Wizards for $64 million over the offseason made his Wiz debut. While he only played 12:01, he had four points, including a dunk as well as two defensive rebounds.

Key takeaway: Kelly Oubre and Sheldon McClellan were both difference-makers in this contest. Oubre led the way with 24 points while McClellan shot 6-10 for 20 points. This was McClellan’s breakout game of the preseason, which opened open the eyes of both the coaching staff and fans. McClellan recently made the final cut on the Wizards season-opening roster.

at Knicks: L, 88-90

The Wizards had a chance to steal a game at MSG after Casper Ware hit a runner in the lane to tie the game at 88 with 5.9 seconds left but Lance Thomas got fouled right before the horn sounded at 0.2 seconds left. He made both free throws to give the Knicks a 90-88 win. The Knicks won the game from the perimeter as they shot 13-of-30 from downtown while the Wizards only shot 3-21. Two of those three’s were from Bradley Beal while the rest of the team shot 1-16 from that range. Beal led the Wizards with 17 points. John Wall returned to the court for the first time since having knee surgery back in May. Wall finished with eight points, four assists, and three rebounds in 16 minutes of action. Not too shabby in his return to action and now with Wall back in the lineup, the Wizards starters could get better reps at practices and in their remaining preseason games.

Key takeaway: John Wall is officially back from double knee surgery and his 8 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds in this one were a good start to his season. Said Coach Brooks after Wall’s performance: “It was good to see him play well. It was just good to see him back on the court.” Amen, coach.

vs. Philadelphia: W, 100-79

This was a big night in DC sports with the Nats playing Game 5 of the NLDS a couple blocks over and the Capitals opening up their season in Pittsburgh. While those teams both had tough losses, the Wizards got a big preseason win over the 76ers in their rematch at Verizon Center.

This contest was much more lopsided than the previous one that needed two overtimes to decide the winner. Despite the Wizards winning big, nobody scored for the first three minutes of the contest. A Marcin Gortat free throw was the first basket of the game. Both teams shot under 40 percent in the first half. The Wizards led by 12 at the half but got off to a hot start in the third quarter to extend their lead over 30. Washington was ahead by 26 heading into the fourth quarter. John Wall had a much better outing than the previous game and looked much more like the John Wall we all know and love. He finished with nine points, nine assists, and three steals in 19 minutes. Wall made some great defensive plays that led to points in transition. He still struggled with his jumper as he went 0-for-6 on jump shots and 1-6 from the free throw line. Bradley Beal finished with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting in 24 minutes, 15 of those points came in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Wall added five assists in the third frame. Andrew Nicholson got his first start as a Wizard and he impressed with 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep while grabbing 12 rebounds.

Key takeaway: With a blowout win like this, the Wizards defense played a huge part forcing 22 turnovers.

at Sacramento (in Kentucky): L, 119-124

John Wall returned to his old stomping grounds at the University of Kentucky to take on former college teammate DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings. It was a homecoming of sorts for both players in front of their fans. Wall’s minutes were limited but still had a good game with 11 points, four assists, and four steals in 22 minutes of play. Cousins had 22 points, six assists, and five rebounds in 26 minutes. Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, and Jason Smith didn’t play, while Ian Mahinmi missed action with undergoing surgery the day before. Marcin Gortat only played nine minutes. This was a game for the young guns looking to make a spot on the Wizards opening night roster. Andrew Nicholson finished with 19 points and five rebounds. Trey Burke added 14 points and 10 assists. Kelley Oubre got his first start of the preseason and did not disappoint, finishing with 15 points.

Key takeaway: After shooting 69-for-101 (68%) from the free throw line in the first four games of the preseason, the Wizards did much better from the charity stripe in this game, missing just one of their 18 attempts.

at Cleveland (in Columbus): W, 96-91

The Wizards got an impressive 96-91 comeback win over the defending NBA champions on the campus of The Ohio State University. After a bad first quarter that saw the Wizards trailing at the end of the opening frame 35-25, Washington trailed by as many as 14 in the second quarter. The Wizards came back to trim the deficit at four at the end of the first half and began the third quarter on a 9-0 run. Marcus Thornton played a big part in closing out the game as he scored 14 of his 16 points in the final quarter. Andrew Nicholson led the Wizards with 19 points off the bench while shooting 7-of-8 from the field. John Wall led the way for the starters in 24 minutes finishing with 17 points.

Key takeaway: This might have been the Wizards most exciting win of the preseason. Though none of these games count, a 14-point comeback to take control in the second half and down the defending champions has to be a confidence booster before the regular season starts.

vs. Toronto: W, 119-82

The Wizards started out the gates hot during the first 12 minutes of action. Holding a commanding 39-23 lead in the first quarter, the Wizards shot 14-of-19 from the field and 7-9 from downtown. John Wall had six assists while Bradley Beal and Otto Porter combined for 17 in the opening quarter. The Wizards came into this final preseason contest struggling from behind the arc but they had their best night from the field in this game, going 14-of-29. Going into the fourth, the Wizards led by 27 and they never looked back with a 119-82 win. Wall finished with 15 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. Beal and Markieff Morris led the Wizards in scoring with 19 points each. Otto Porter added 16 while Marcin Gortat added 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

Key takeaway: If the Wizards play like they did that night, they could win a lot more games than they did last year and surprise a lot of people. This was an all-around good team win. The Wizards’ field goal percentage was at a staggering 57.6% while they hit 48.3% of their shots from downtown. They also outrebounded the Raptors 58-41.

The Wizards finished the preseason with a respectable 4-3 record. Over the course of these seven games we saw the starters begin to gel together, especially once John Wall returned to the lineup. Their wins over Cleveland and Toronto to close out the preseason should give them confidence heading into the season. Now they count for real beginning Thursday night in Atlanta. Should be a fun season Wizards fans. Buckle up!

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