Despite the loss in their Baltimore return, there were plenty of positive things to be taken away from the Washington Wizards’ 98-89 loss to the Carmelo Anthony led New York Knicks. Here are the Bullet Points:
- As always, John Wall and Bradley Beal looked terrific tonight. The backcourt tandem has looked great in virtually every preseason game thus far, and I don’t expect that to change once the regular season begins. Beal picked up right from where he left off against the Heat, scoring 21 points in just 30 minutes of action. Beal didn’t revert at all, as he continued to score in an array of ways tonight. He knocked down 3 shots from beyond the three-point arc, but most importantly, he continued to score off the dribble. There was a sequence where he completely destroyed Iman Shumpert, who’s regarded as a premier perimeter defender, on an isolation and drove to the basket to finish with a nifty spinning layup. John Wall complemented Beal’s performance by adding on 14 points to go along with 8 assists. Wall struggled with controlling the ball in the first couple preseason games, but he did a better job tonight in squeezing the orange as he didn’t commit any turnovers in 28 minutes of action. The backcourt play has been extremely encouraging, to say the least.
- With Nene out resting tonight, Randy Wittman had to rely on his other bigs and it wasn’t pretty. Besides Trevor Booker, all of Washington’s bigs looked awful against New York. Kevin Seraphin looked as incompetent as ever, and Jan Vesely failed to convert on multiple opportunities right underneath the basket. There were times where Pablo Prigioni was caught guarding Vesely, but he passed the ball right out to the three every single time. Washington’s bigs looked really, really bad tonight. The Wizards have to decide on whether or not to pick up their contract options this month, and they aren’t helping their case at all, especially after tonight’s dreadful performance.
- Trevor Ariza played like the Trevor Ariza we all know and despise. When Ariza isn’t knocking down open 3-point opportunities, he becomes essentially useless on the offensive side of the floor, especially since he can’t handle the ball. Martell Webster didn’t add much from the bench either, so it was a pretty bad day for Washington’s swing men.
- The Wizards’ bench has never looked worse during preseason thus far, and that’s saying something. Eric Maynor looked lost, Glen Rice Jr. couldn’t buy a basket and it resulted into just 10 of 33 made field goal attempts off the bench. Al Harrington, who usually provides a scoring spark, just couldn’t get it going tonight. Washington’s bench has been very inconsistent so far, and that has to change, starting with Eric Maynor. As the supposed leader coming off the bench, Maynor’s indecisiveness has really hurt the Wizards at times.
That’s it for tonight’s recap.
Besides a few glaring issues Washington was having tonight, the starters and more importantly John Wall & Bradley Beal looked great. It’s preseason, so I wouldn’t expect beautiful basketball every game and I have no doubt that Wittman and his staff will go over some of the issues with the team ASAP.
Washington’s next preseason game will take place this Saturday against the New Orleans Pelicans at Rupp Arena; John Wall and Anthony Davis’ old stomping grounds.