D.C. Council Opening Statements: Wizards vs Bulls, Preseason Game 2 (in Brazil!)
Muddle the lime and sugar, and break out the Brazilian caipirinhas, ’cause tonight, the Wizards and Bulls face off in the first NBA game in South America, ever. This one will most definitely be available on NBA TV in the District and its surroundings, we are told, albeit via the Chicago Bulls broadcasters. Why couldn’t you see the first game anywhere in D.C. aside from via illegal Web streams? Blame Comcast. Not to digress, but the growing rift between Monumental Sports and Comcast, which declined to allow the Wizards to stream the game on their own website, is something to keep tabs on—check this post and this post via the DC Sports Bog.
Teams: Wizards vs. Bulls
Time: 5:00 p.m. ET
Venue: HSBC Arena, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Television: NBA TV
Radio: WFED-AM 1500
Q #1: What’s the general feeling surrounding the return of Derrick Rose amongst ardent followers of the Bulls? Are they anxious? Excited? Irrationally nervous? (Irrationally optimistic?)
Wizards fans certainly know about the angst of injuries, but they also have no clue what it’s like to lose an MVP-caliber player to injury for an entire season and still make the playoffs. How does all of this factor into expectations? The Washington Nationals made the postseason last year after shutting down Stephen Strasburg, and then, prior to this season, declared “World Series or bust”—they busted. For the Bulls, is it NBA Finals or bust, or is there more of a cautious feeling surrounding the outlook of this season?
@NickFriedell: I’d say the general feeling surrounding Rose’s return is nervousness tinged with a lot of excitement. Nervousness in the sense that every time he goes to the rim people are still holding their breath. They want to see if his body can hold up throughout the course of a season. Excitement in that with Rose back the Bulls—especially their fans—believe they have a legitimate chance to win a title this year. There is no doubt that there is a “championship or bust” feel around this team this season.
Q #2: Rose has a habit of becoming a more efficient and dangerous player each year—improving his jumper a couple seasons back and then becoming a much more dangerous pick-and-roll player. Having lost a season, has he added anything to his game this time? Or is the goal simply to come back and be who he was before?
@NickFriedell: He wants to come back and be better than he was before. He has talked about how he has extended his range even more than before he was hurt. He’s also talked about how he’s in much better shape than he’s ever been. Having watched him over the last few weeks he definitely looks like the player he used to be—although there is still some rust he has to shake off. What has been most striking to me is that he sounds like his old self. He sounds much more confident than he was at any point last season. He heard all the criticism he received and I think he genuinely wants to prove all the people who doubted him wrong.
Q #3: The Bulls have had some notable turnover in their second unit over the past couple of seasons—Omer Asik, Kyle Korver, John Lucas, C.J. Watson, Rip Hamilton, Daequan Cook, Marco Belinelli, and Nate Robinson … to name a few of the departed. Has it all been purely financial? Is there any concern over the lack of constancy biting back? Or has tinkering finally provided Chicago with its best bench unit?
@NickFriedell: Some of the moves that have been made over the last year and a half were definitely financially motivated. The organization knew last season that they weren’t going to win a title—especially with all the uncertainty surrounding Rose—and that’s why they decided not to bring back some of the old reserves. But I’d argue the only guy they truly miss is Asik. They still have no back up center that could go in and play heavy minutes if needed. Korver was a great piece but the Bulls feel as if Dunleavy, Jr. will be able to fill that role. If Hinrich, Dunleavy, Jr. and Gibson can stay healthy (and that’s obviously a big ‘if’ given recent history) the organization believes this bench is as solid as they’ve had in a while—especially with the unknown potential of rookies Tony Snell and Erik Murphy, both of whom may be able to help down the line.
BONUS: Which Bull is least likely to make it out of Rio?
@NickFriedell: The easy answer would be Noah but I think the players are all scared of the wrath of Thibodeau. Most have held to the notion that the Rio trip is a “business trip.” I don’t think you’ll see any of these guys getting into any kind of trouble.
Q #4: So what’s it going to be tonight, Wizards?
@Truth_About_It: The main thing Randy Wittman is going to be watching is for his team to cut down on the turnovers (23 vs. the Nets) and act like an assembled basketball team. Sure, the “virtues” of preseason basketball allow players to be a little more risky when investigating passing lanes; plus, the Nets game was the first preseason game (required reminder). It’s baby steps at this point, so please don’t panic too much, Wizards fans, even if doing so is your trusted comfort zone.
Next in Randy’s cupboard: not relying on Jan Vesely for rebounds (12 vs. Brooklyn). Nene will rebound when he ‘has to’, often showing textbook blocking-out technique that allows a teammate to secure the board. But sometimes Nene also has to put his inner diva aside and go get the damn ball. Kevin Seraphin, too. Otherwise—yea, yea—it will be a team effort cliche and all of that.
Finally, we’ll need to see a bounce-back effort from Eric Maynor … on some level, the Wizards’ season depends on it (not this particular game, but in general on Maynor to support a relatively untested Wizards backcourt).
If you want Wizards tickets…
Why not get them served up via TiqIQ and TAI?
Keep reading for a primer on marquee games and fluctuating prices.
The Washington Wizards sported their highest win total in five years in the 2012-13 season. Expectations around Washington put the Wizards improving once again with their young core of players. Washington Wizards tickets are averaging $95.57 on the secondary market for the 2013-14 NBA season, a 40% increase over the $68.31 average for the 2013-14 season. Five marquee games are currently selling well above the season average.
1/15/14 vs Miami Heat | Avg. Price: $190.12 | Get-in Price: $32
The Miami Heat draw a crowd in whatever arena they’re in and the Verizon Center is no exception. Miami’s first visit to Washington this season has tickets with an average cost 99% above the average ticket price for Wizards home games.
4/14/14 vs Miami Heat | Avg. Price: $177.21 | Get-in Price: $19
The second time the Heat come to Washington—check the average and get-in price drop. The average price is 85% above the regular home game average. This will be the last chance for fans to see the Wizards at home for the 2013-14 season.
11/23/13 vs New York Knicks | Avg. Price: $147.20 | Get-in Price: $16
The earliest marquee game of the season is the late November matchup against the New York Knicks. Tickets are currently 85% above the average home game price, but features the lowest starting price of the top five games. The Wizards will have to stop Carmelo Anthony, who averaged 29.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists in four games against Washington last season.
2/1/14 vs Oklahoma City Thunder | Avg. Price: $135 | Get-in Price: $25
If Russell Westbrook is back on the court for the Thunder, this game could feature two of the league’s best two young, explosive point guards in Westbrook and John Wall. The average price for this inter-conference game is 41% over the home ticket average for the season.
3/15/14 vs Brooklyn Nets | Avg. Price: $134.87 | Get-in Price: $23
Last season the Wizards went 1-3 against the Brooklyn Nets, but those four games averaged a score of 97.5-95.3, which could hint at another close game in March. The average ticket for this game is 41% above the home game average for the season.
The Wizards played above .500 at home last season and could improve on that record this year. Young players like Otto Porter and Bradley Beal, along with Wall, will bring some entertainment to games in Washington in the coming season.