Las Vegas Council: Wizards Lose to Kings in Semifinals, Leave Summer League 5-1
Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie from across the country in the District of Columbia break down the Wizards’ last game in Las Vegas, a 62-74 loss to the Sacramento Kings in the 2014 NBA Summer League tournament semifinals. Let’s leave it…
Optics on Otto.
Dear, sweet Otto is no longer a deer. He sees right through those headlights and will hit a jumper over them. The release on Otto Porter’s shot is not as mechanical as it used to be. It’s slightly aged with added quickness and fluidity. Also: match-ups for the 6-foot-9 NBA soph-to-be against shorter defenders will help him in real basketball just like they have in summer league.
Continue keeping in mind that Otto must hit the weight room with Marcin Gortat, or whomever, for the rest of the summer—and for the next five years. He’s still going to get tossed around the league next season. Out in Vegas, Glen Rice took three times as many free throws as Otto, who only attempted five more than Daniel Theis in more than double the minutes. He does not have a forceful game, but he’s trying. He’ll use that chicken wing (against 6-foot-3 players named Ray McCallum).
Porter will get there. We think. Summer league is no guarantee, it is just a vehicle, goes the Daily Wizdom. Hopefully not just another rental car in Las Vegas.
At least this time, Sin City was Otto’s empire, not his purgatory. Well, at least he was first team all-empire. From the young prince by means of Elsewhere, Missouri, we’ll take it.
—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)
STATS on Otto: 16 points, 7-18 FGs, 0-5 3Ps, 2-4 FTs, 5 rebounds, 2 asts, 1 TO
The Rice Report.
Michael Jordan used to say that averaging 30-plus points per game was difficult, because it took a certain level of stamina and mental toughness to have a
bull’s-eye on your chest while being expected to produce and lead night after night. And while no one is confusing Glen Rice, Jr. with His Airness, Rice was certainly wearing the bull’s-eye on his chest coming into the game against the Kings. He was Wizards’ (and the entire summer league’s) leading scorer at 25.2 points per game. And the night before, against the San Antonio Spurs, Rice had 36 points, 11 rebounds, and four steals en route to the Wizards’ 95-94 triple overtime victory. All Rice had to do against the Kings was overcome that bull’s-eye and their defensive pressure, along with the inevitable mental and physical fatigue that comes with playing less than 24 hours after leaving everything out on the floor. He did so with mixed results.
Rice started off the first quarter by shooting just 1-for-7 from the field, and most of the shots were contested, rushed, and not at all in the flow of the offense. In fairness to him, however, that’s how most of this summer league points have been scored, but unlike the second performance against the Heat when he found other ways to be productive, Rice just kept shooting, forcing, and missing.
During one first-quarter possession, Rice was bodied, then stripped by MarShon Brooks, and he reverted to the poor body language seen on several occasions during summer league. He continued to sulk on defense, and his man (Kings’ guard Ray McCallum ) hit a 3-pointer to give Sacramento their largest lead up to that point, 16-9. Rice hit a jumper and two free throws in the second quarter, but he also was whistled for a technical foul after pushing Brooks in frustration.
The third quarter was Rice’s crown jewel, and when he demonstrated what he can do for the Wizards during the regular season. Rice scored 10 points in the quarter, which was to be expected, but he also did the little things leaders are expected to do. He threw an alley-oop to Kwame Vaughn, he drove to the basket instead of settling for jumpers, he picked the pocket of Brooks on one possession (one of his three steals in the quarter), and he baited Brooks into an offensive foul on another. Rice’s hard work on both ends of the floor paid dividends for the Wizards, as they cut the Kings’ lead from 21 to 10 points. Even the NBA TV crew of Greg Anthony and Dennis Scott could not stop themselves from gushing about Rice’s defense.
Maybe it was the large deficit the Wizards had to overcome, or maybe it was the fatigue of 36 points the night before finally kicking in, but in the fourth quarter, Rice was simply not the same player. He still scored eight points, but he again settled for forced shots, and the defensive intensity was no longer there. He could have very well be called for a second technical foul when he got tangled with the Kings’ Eric Moreland, and then got right up in his face.
As disappointing as the final game may have been for Rice, he still has nothing to be ashamed of this summer. His body language needs to improve, as does his shot selection and his ball handling (by his own admission), but he made great strides in the confidence department. He was the leader on the Wizards squad, and he was named MVP of the Samsung Summer League after averaging 25 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals.
—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)
STATS on Glen: 24 pts, 8-23 FGs, 1-9 3Ps, 7-7 FTs, 9 rebs, 6 stls, 2 TOs, 2 asts
Other Wizards Leaguers.
Dennis Scott and Greg Anthony said that since Otto Porter and Glen Rice, Jr. were taking so many shots, it was difficult for the other players to establish any semblance of a rhythm. With all due respect to both former NBA players, it wasn’t that Porter and Rice were ball hogging, it was that no one off the bench stepped up as they had in virtually every other summer league game.
Kwame Vaughn started over Maalik Wayns (injured) and Deonte Burton (ineffective), but he could not engineer cohesive offensive possessions. Daniel Orton was ineffective as usual and the quick hops of Khem Birch were no match for the physicality of the Kings’ Quincy Acy and Eric Moreland.
Jamil Wilson, who had both a key block and a big assist the previous night against the Spurs, had no such luck against the Kings. He had four turnovers in 15 minutes of play, and each time he got the ball he seemed to be in a hurry to score, instead of attempting to make the correct basketball play. Even Daniel Theis, who did a little of everything (10 points, eight rebounds, five blocks) against San Antonio, did nothing except miss two easy dunks against Sacramento.
The only bench player who did anything remotely effective was Jerrell Eddie out of Virginia Tech. He gave the Wizards a bit of momentum going into halftime with a buzzer beating 3-pointer, and he hit another big 3 at the start of the fourth quarter to cut the Kings’ lead to seven—the smallest the lead had been since the first quarter. Eddie finished with eight points, and only Porter and Rice reached double-figures. Conversely, the balanced Kings had four players in double-figures: two starters and two bench players.
—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)
What Happened: The Game
The excuse was right there for the taking: the Wizards were tired. They were coming off a thrilling, triple-overtime victory against the Spurs the night before. Of course they were primed to come out of the gates slow, and thusly went down 11-18 after one quarter and then 24-55 at halftime to the Sacramento Kings. Dead legs <— See? An excuse. It’s elementary.
The Kings also played the night before, granted not triple-overtime, but in the summer league, a three-OT game is still two minutes short of a 48-minute regular season game. Ah, never mind. You still can’t deny the mental fatigue. We all are susceptible. But just call it what it is: not playing good basketball. Not tired legs and minds.
Washington gave up too many second-chances in the first quarter. Daniel Orton continued to show flashes—once again finding Otto Porter in the post with a nice pass on the first play of the game. But Orton’s positioning on defense and offensive patience continued to disappoint. And only eight minutes had gone by in the game before Glen Rice became reckless with frustration as his forays to the hoop did not draw the calls he desired. Plus, the Wizards just weren’t hitting some open shots.
Kwame Vaughn started at point for Deonte Burton, who played himself out of the position. Vaughn didn’t have much success, but things only got worse in the second quarter with Burton and Kim English. Sacramento’s MarShon Brooks led the Kings on the night with 14 points and all of them came in the second period. But after the midway point of the quarter, a glimmer of hope. Rice finally drew a foul and sank a couple free throws. Washington ended the half on a 7-2 mini-run … to finish down 21 points; Jarrell Eddie hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
In the second half, Sam Cassell started Eddie instead of Khem Birch. When in doubt, go with offense. And while Rice may show attitude on the court, that same demeanor can help him sometimes. He’s Sidney Deane from White Men Can’t Jump—make him mad and he plays harder. Rice’s aggressive defense set the tone to start the third. He went on his own 4-0 run in the first 75 seconds, and he scored 11 of Washington’s first 15 points in the quarter to bring his team within 14 points. Porter added to Rice’s efforts in the third with five points and an assist of his own over the last couple of minutes. The Wizards were within 10, 48-58, to start the fourth.
Then the deficit got to seven point within 20 seconds thanks to another 3 from Jerrell Eddie; the Wizards were once down 26 … in a summer league game. Nonetheless is a word that can lead you down a couple paths, in this case, it’s a Wizards loss, 62-74. Ben McLemore, Ray McCallum, Eric Moreland, and Quincy Acy were too much for the supporting cast of Porter and Rice. Washington, mostly Rice, put up a fight after getting out-maneuvered early in the game, but they would just lie down in the end.
It was a good summer league, and ’tis the season. The Wizards went 5-1, opened some eyes, stole some hearts, and are leaving Vegas with a shirt-torso relationship in tact and a future in their pockets. More is definitely to come.
—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)
LA’s Loss, DC’s Gain
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