The next time the Washington Wizards hit the hardwood it will be the real thing. They probably wish their preseason finale against Toronto counted, though.
Washington shot out like a cannon in the first quarter with their starting five dominating the Raptors as if it was the 2014 playoffs all over again. The Verizon Center was kind enough to play a lot of Drake to soothe the beating for Toronto, but at the end of the day they could not stop Washington’s starters offensively.
The role players held off a weak Raptors comeback attempt in the fourth quarter and Washington finished the preseason with a 4-3 record following a 119-82 thumping of Toronto.
John Wall is in mid-season form
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) October 22, 2016
Wall will be the first to admit that he needs to keep his turnovers down after committing six miscues during the game, but aside from that the Wizards point guard looks 110% recovered from offseason knee surgeries.
The seventh-year veteran, seems weird to type that for a guy who just turned 26-years old, was pushing the ball up the court off makes and misses. The Washington All-Star was on triple-double watch until he was subbed out earlier than usual. Wall finished with 15 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds in 27 minutes in an all-around sound performance.
There may have been doubt of whether he would start the season, but that can be quieted. Wall does not know whether he will be on a minutes restriction in the opener, but feels good about how his body has been responding as his minutes are ramped up during the preseason. My bet is that he plays his usual 35 minutes and is just fine.
Get tickets for the home opener, it should be fun
Washington plays their third regular season game at Verizon Center on Wednesday, November 2nd against these same Toronto Raptors. If tonight’s performance was any indication, it should be a fun night for the home crowd.
The Wizards presumed starting five of Wall, Beal, Porter, Morris, and Gortat were a combined +160 during the game, an astounding statistic that exemplifies how badly Washington beat Toronto.
There has been a bit of a rivalry since the Wizards swept Toronto a year and a half ago, which has carried over with a bit of chippy play from Kyle Lowry. With the Raptors proclaimed as the second-best team in the East, it will be interesting to see if Washington gets more love if they can dominate them when it counts in 12 days.
DeMar DeRozan did not play as well as you might think
The Raptors shooting guard finished with 34 points, which was over half of his team’s points through three quarters. DeRozan was a semi-inefficient 11 of 24 from the field and 1 of 5 from beyond the arc. His stats were inflated by getting James Harden-like foul calls. The recently paid guard got 12 free throw attempts in the first half alone. With Joey Crawford watching from the stands, it all made sense.
In my opinion, Bradley Beal had the better game as a max-contract player. Beal was 8 of 16 from the field for 19 points but most importantly added NINE assists against zero turnovers. Wall will get his usual double-digit assists, but Beal is certainly coming into his own as a secondary passer. Washington’s ball movement was crisp tonight and Beal, unlike DeRozan, played a part. Head coach Scott Brooks hopes Beal doesn’t commit a turnover all season, but kidded he probably would on the first play of Saturday’s practice.
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) October 21, 2016
• “You don’t rest on a win or get down on a loss,” Brooks said about the needed mentality during a long 82-game season.
• “It’s fun, I enjoy it,” Wall said about the NBA GM survey. “I laugh. ‘A guy that finished top two in assists last two year, can’t pass?’ I guess so. We never played with an All-Star and average eight assists, nine assists my whole career. I think I’m doing a pretty good job at something. Give credit to my teammates, they are setting good screens, knocking down shots, but it just depends. Anytime there is a survey … I am never in the top five category of anything. And that’s just more motivation for me. They got their opinion, I know what I do, my teammates believe in me, they trust and see everything I do and all the hard work I put in like all you media guys do. So one day they will understand and respect it.”
• Per reports, the Washington Wizards Game 1 roster stacks up as follows:
PG: John Wall, Trey Burke, Tomas Satoransky
SG: Bradley Beal, Marcus Thornton, Sheldon McClellan
SF: Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre Jr., Danuel House
PF: Markieff Morris, Andrew Nicholson
C: Marcin Gortat, Jason Smith, Daniel Ochefu, Ian Mahinmi (knee)
Brooks commented that “all six guys really deserve to be on an NBA team”. We will wait and see if Jarell Eddie, Johnny O’Bryant III, and Casper Ware are picked up elsewhere as Daniel House, Sheldon McClellan, and Daniel Ochefu make the cut.