The Rundown: Washington Wizards vs Philadelphia 76ers – Preseason Game 1 | Wizards Blog Truth About

The Rundown: Washington Wizards vs Philadelphia 76ers – Preseason Game 1

Updated: December 17, 2011

[Editor’s Note: Truth About is trying something new with its game coverage this season. Of course, we will be honing this series as we go along, but here’s the gist: relevant pre- and post-game quotes/analysis from those in attendance covering the game (last night it was Rashad Mobley and Adam McGinnis); D.C flag 3-star ratings for the Wizards starters and bench from three people able to watch the game (live or on television — we will keep a running tally on the ratings); thoughts on the environment and slept-on moments; and finally, fan tweets, scenes from the game, and anything else that would be fitting to include in “The Rundown” (which totally might not be the final name of this series, especially since it’s also the name of a movie featuring “The Rock” and Seann William Scott… and Rosaio Dawson, don’t want to forget her). In any case, here goes… -Kyle W.]


Washington Wizards 78 – Philadelphia 76ers 103 [box score]

Quick STAT: The Wizards had 20 turnovers and 10 assists; John Wall: 6 TO, 3 AST

Scene of the Game

{Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!}

[Jan Vesely waits to check in his first game as a Wizard – screen shot via Comcast SportsNet]

The Quotes w/ Rashad Mobley

Prior to last night’s game against Washington, Philadelphia coach Doug Collins had a very specific plan of action that he wanted to see his team follow. I don’t know whether it was the fact that Collins is a great coach, or if it was his broadcaster background, but he laid it out perfectly. As an aside, I wonder if Flip Saunders has this type of plan prepared for when the Wizards play the Sixers again on Tuesday — he will definitely need it.  I digress, to the video…

Reaction Analysis:

  • Play 10 or 11 guys: Collins exceeded his own expectations by playing 13 guys (Lavoy Allen barely made the cut by playing three minutes, and Jodie Meeks played the most, clocking 34 minutes).
  • Reacting to a different opponent:  The Sixers traded baskets with the Wizards for three minutes, until Jrue Holiday blocked a John Wall shot and then made a lay-up on the other end of the floor. From that point on the Sixers never trailed again. Their spacing was immaculate, there were at least four or five passes made by each player before a shot was taken, and it was as if the Wizards defense wasn’t even in the picture. The only time the Sixers appeared to be out of sync was in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand.
  • Conditioning:  This was a tough one to judge from my vantage point. I did notice that the Sixers shots were going in (they shot 50.6-percent for the game), while all of the Wizards shots–both from close range and afar–seemed to find a home on the front of the rim.  In fact, Mike Prada of Bullets Forever tweeted that the front of the rim was taking quite a beating. Coach Collins, and his experienced coaching eye, gets the final say when it comes to the game shape of the Sixers: “I was happy with our conditioning.”
  • Take care of the ball:  The Sixers averaged 13 turnovers per game last season, on Friday they had 18 (led by Evan Turner’s five).  The Wizards had 20 turnovers, so Philadelphia won that battle, but given that the Sixers defeated them by 25 points, that’s not an impressive feat.
  • Rebounding:  The Sixers averaged 42 rebounds per game last year, and they grabbed exactly that amount last night (led by Spencer Hawes’ nine).  The Wizards had just 35 rebounds (led by JaVale McGee’s eight in 21 minutes).
  • Keep the Wizards off the foul line:  This is the only area where the Sixers disappointed Coach Collins. By the end of the first quarter, the Wizards had been to the line seven times, and the Sixers had not been to the line at all. By game’s end, Philadelphia had been to the line 21 times to 27 times for Washington.
  • Put a wall around John Wall and stop the one-man fast break:  I’ll let Doug Collins describe this one in his own words

Doug Collins Postgame:

“We wanted to keep him out of transition, we wanted John Wall to see bodies, and we tried to make him shoot jump shots. We tried to take away that one-man fastbreak, and get back so he could see our jerseys, and [we could] make everything tough. He (Wall) made that one brilliant play on the screen and roll when he rejected the screen and got the dunk, but I thought we did a pretty good job.”

D.C. Flag 3-Star Ratings.

w/ Adam McGinnis, Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie

Starting 5 >>

John Wall

  • McGinnis: Wall was completely out of sync and sadly, a non-factor when was in the game. He was listless, sloppy with the ball and often caught himself too much under the rim to finish effectively.  I was highly disappointed in his play after watching him in training camp and summer exhibition games, where he was always one of the most dominant players on the court. 0.5 Star
  • Mobley: Sixers Coach Doug Collins described Wall as a running back who thrives on open space and lanes. On Friday night, Wall was stifled for the most part, and he was never able to display that blinding speed of his.  He hit a few open jumpers, but he missed some easy layups and turned the ball over six times. 1.5 Stars
  • Weidie: Wall had trouble finishing at the hoop early, seemingly because he was trying to be cute and get a shot off in traffic rather than draw contact and get to the line (he was 2-2 on free-throws in 26 minutes). Later, it appeared Wall settled for attempting to show off his jumper. Hopefully this game was a reality check for him.  0.5 Star
  • TOTAL: 2.5 out of 9 stars

Jordan Crawford

  • McGinnis: Crawford had probably the worst game of the starters. Midway through the first quarter, he took one of those quick shots that get you pulled if it doesn’t go in. And like most of his shots tonight, it was off the mark. He was indecisive, did not create any positive plays off the bounce and looked lost on defense. Crawford’s dreadful performance had one fan scream during the second half, “Re-sign Nick Young!”  0.5 Stars
  • Mobley:  Crawford shot 3-for-10 and did his best Nick Young impression:  he shot poorly, played matador defense and really had nothing to contribute once his shot wasn’t falling. 1 Star
  • Weidie: And here I was bragging about Crawford. Hell, he was the second popcorn player Flip Saunders mentioned after Wall. Going 3-10 from the field and 0-4 from three is not going to cut it. But I still believe Crawford’s shot will start falling, and when both he and Wall slow down on offense, the team will follow suit and get more composed. Bright side: two assists in 26 minutes better than Nick Young; Down side: does Crawford realize Young’s only a qualifying offer acceptance away from breathing down his neck to reclaim the starter role? 0.5 Star
  • TOTAL: 2 stars out of 9

Rashard Lewis

  • McGinnis: Honestly, I do not remember “Sweet Lew” doing anything bad or good. He was just kind of out there. The man Lewis was guarding, Andre Iguodala, was held scoreless, so there is one positive. 1.5  Stars
  • Mobley:  If I had a lockout sticking point basically named after me like Rashard Lewis did with the amnesty clause, I would have come out in the first preseason game and been an absolute beast.  Rashard scored four points in 22 minutes, and quite honestly, I barely noticed him. 0.5 Star
  • Weidie: I was going to leave some “Lorem ipsum” as a placeholder for Lewis in lieu of commentary, but I will say this: it must be tough balancing wanting to lead by veteran example with being an afterthought on offense in the eyes of his teammates while making the second most money in the NBA this season.  1 Star
  • TOTAL: 3 stars out of 9

Andray Blatche

  • McGinnis: Dray did not die out there, but he gave a decent effort for the most part. He was the only positive to take out of the first half with his scoring. Blatche was getting to the free throw line by attacking the rim and not settling for jumpers offensively, but the team’s interior defense struggled, and Blatche had a big hand in that. 2 Stars
  • Mobley:  I’m torn on this one. I saw a lot of the 2010-2011 Blatche during last night’s game.  He held the ball too long, he dribbled too much, and as John Hollinger pointed out in Blatche’s preseason profile, he continued to miss shots at close range. But Blatche was also the only starter who was able to establish a rhythm, so I’m sure he felt pressure to take and make shots. I’ll give him a pass since he took responsibility after the game with this tweet. 2 Stars
  • Weidie: Blatche was hustling more in guarding pick and rolls; he still needs to get the timing and spacing right with his teammates, but more desire is step one. He got in the paint for five of his 11 shots and went 8-8 from the free-throw line… Decently positive. His jumper wasn’t falling, and that’s okay for now. But for him and the team to succeed, he’ll need to start making them.  2 Stars
  • TOTAL: 6 stars out of 9

JaVale McGee

  • McGinnis: Spencer Hawes abused him, need I say more? Hawes had 14 points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes. McGee provided little protection of the rim as 76ers attacked with ease. He had a couple decent moves in the post, got to the foul line, and racked up defensive boards, somewhat. In his 21 minutes of play, I did not see any improvement in McGee’s game past what we already know. For example: he was totally about to take off on a solo fast break dribble at one point, but luckily for fans, JaVale, and Flip Saunders, he was fouled by Jrue Holiday before he could do so. 1 Star
  • Mobley: I gave Blatche a pass because he had so much of the scoring load on his shoulders; McGee also looked like the same McGee I’ve been watching the past few years. He had some brilliant dunks, some quick shots that broke offensive sets, he rebounded well, but he’s still trying to block every shot. More evident improvement is needed from him. 1.5 Stars
  • Weidie: McGee looks stronger and a bit more confident. He’s ready to try some post moves… Good stuff. Problem is, he still looks lost out on the hardwood. Forget about him pointing and communicating, being his team’s defensive anchor from the paint… He can’t even keep himself in check by not flailing his body in an attempt to block every shot that goes up. He should get a lot of rebounds this season, however. 1 Star
  • TOTAL: 3.5 stars out of 9

The Bench >>

  • McGinnis: Flip Saunders praised his bench unit, especially for their second half defensive effort, noting his three rookies playing at the same time. Chris Singleton showed why his trademark coming out of college was his defense, and Saunders called him the team’s best one-on-one defender. Shelvin Mack had a shaky beginning and was unable to hit any jumpers, although he did have a few nifty moves to the hoop in the second half. Jan Vesely surprised me in that his game is more face-up wing than back-to-basket tweener. He makes instinctive plays on defense by jumping in passing lanes on rotations and by running to open space on offense. He once nicely saved the ball from going out of bounds by diving to successfully throw it off an opponent. The knock from short observations out of training camp is that Jan looked lost at times, but in the game that wasn’t the case. Roger Mason Jr. nailed some deep jumpers late, and Kevin Serpahin threw his body around, but he needs to cut down on turnovers (he had four). 2.5 stars
  • Mobley: Jan Vesley did a good job rotating on defense and working without the ball. And, oh yeah, he had this nasty alley-oop dunk. Roger Mason, much like Vesley, scored all of his points in the fourth quarter when the game was pretty much decided, but perhaps he’ll retain that touch on Tuesday when they meet the Sixers again.  Chris Singleton played well defensively, but showed nothing on offense, and Shelvin Mack did nothing to establish himself as a backup to Wall. 2 Stars
  • Weidie: Well, at least the rookies seem pretty smart. Last year’s draft picks (the obviousness of Wall notwithstanding) seem like fairly good eggs too. Makes you wonder what type of new player/character evaluation tools Ted Leonsis has implemented on his watch, and if guys like Andray Blatche and Nick Young would’ve made the cut. 2 Stars
  • TOTAL: 6.5 stars out of 9

Fan Tweets.

@thedugsmusic: If nick young was at this game our stats for people saying “my bad” would have doubled

@BoneyStarks: Imma need heroin, bruh. RT @TheRockwell@BoneyStarks you need a drink, bro? At least its only 66 games.

The Environment & TV.

  • McGinnis: Chipotle Burrito and T-shirt tosses are two dead-ball events that I always poke fun at, but I did not on Friday night because fans really seemed to miss them. The Verizon Center was full of your die-hard fans coming donned in gear with the new look. The highlight of the evening had to be the Dance Cam winner who was this white dude in an ugly Christmas cardigan sweater. He had the whole arena dying from laughter.
  • Mobley:  I thought the fans overreacted by booing and calling for Nick Young–let me repeat, Nick Young. But given that they’ve been without basketball for so long, I can’t really blame them. And Flip Saunders, as bad of a job he did motivating his team in game one of the preseason, deserves some credit for pulling his starters early in the third quarter. As he candidly put it after the game, “I was tired of looking at that shit.”
  • Weidie: I know Steve Buckhantz can’t be thrilled that this was what he was so anxious to come back to. But it’s okay, it’s preseason for him and television broadcast partner Phil Chenier as well, especially since Chenier pretty much called Jordan Crawford, “Jamal” in his first television sentence before game. Let’s just erase the entire night from our memories.

Slept-On Moment.

  • McGinnis: During one of the last possessions of the first half, there were literally four Wizards offensive players so close to each other that they could form a human chain. This snapshot was indicative of the horrid offensive display from the starters that continued throughout the drubbing. 
  • Mobley:  The pulling-of-the-starters move that Flip Saunders executed is usually a trick that works once or twice during a season–much like a coach getting thrown out of a game intentionally. Coach Saunders used this tactic during the first preseason game in an abbreviated season. That is not good at all, and may be an indication that the ship is sinking, or at least taking in water. Who will bail these Wizards out?
  • Weidie: I know what’s not the slept-on moment… Flip Saunders’ pillow on Friday night. {Zinger alert.} People will say it’s just the preseason, amongst other excuses, but don’t act like such a poor effort doesn’t raise the eyebrows of pressure.

End Scene.

Chris Singleton: “At one point we were down by 40 in an exhibition game. That’s crazy, I hope its not like this every night.”

{They can’t all be this frustrating, right? It’s just the preseason, right?}

[JaVale McGee after losing a pass out of bounds off his hands late in the second quarter – screen shot via: Comcast SportsNet]

{John Wall can still dunk though}

[Photo: Adam McGinnis]
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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.