Key Legislature: Wizards 100 at Knicks 103 — Preseason Game 8, Upstaged by Melo at Final Rehearsal | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 100 at Knicks 103 — Preseason Game 8, Upstaged by Melo at Final Rehearsal

Updated: October 22, 2014

Truth About’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment for Washington Wizards preseason contest No. 8 versus the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden, via Kyle Weidie from the confines of the District of Columbia.

DC Council Key Legislature

by Kyle Weidie.

A regular season game broke out in the final preseason game on Wednesday night. With the regular season a week away, can you blame Randy Wittman and Derek Fisher for playing their stars until the end?

With all the basketball prognostication on the court — 10 guys played for the Wizards, 11 guys played for the Knicks — the difference was a clutch bucket from Carmelo Anthony. Washington played without Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce, Andre Miller, and Kris Humphries. New York was without Andrea Bargnani, Travis Outlaw, Jose Calderon, and Quincy Acy.

But ‘Melo drew the and-1 on Damion James with 14 seconds left. “I didn’t see much of a foul,” admitted Walt “Clyde” Frazier over the broadcast. But he still made the shot. On the other end, John Wall wasted (or calculated) a bit of time, but lost the ball, recovered it, and still found Otto Porter for the potential game-tying buzzer beater. It was all for naught, the 100-103 loss for Washington in Madison Square Garden. The last preseason game. While the Knicks would appreciate the win, Randy Wittman and the Wizards will appreciate the final look it gave them (and the kick in the ass going into the regular season).

John Wall back, first of all. He scored 29 points on 16 shots, hit 2-for-4 from 3-point territory, and went 7-for-8 on free throws. He bounced back from three first half turnovers to finish with four in the game to counter seven assists (five in the second half). Playing with a small lineup of Damion James, Rasual Butler, Otto Porter, and Marcin Gortat down the stretch — a pointed sign of coaching intrigue to come, with others — Wall was a maestro, creating deceptive passes, using his speed, playing in control, going around the back, sniping on defense, and leading his team. The Wizards were down four points, 93-97, with two minutes left when Wall went on his own 4-0 run with a right elbow jumper (Gortat screen), and a steal and transition bucket. (OK, so Wall also had Pablo Prigioni guarding him at times. Still.)

You’ve heard of Otto Porter, right? He scored 22 points on 15 shots (4-7 on 3s) and got himself into a bit of a duel with Anthony. The Baltimorean got his in a simple fashion versus Missouri Porter, but Otto not backing down was a huge step, and defensively it was good experience. Consecutive reps are the best, and Porter got those against the most well-rounded scorer in the league (while also noting that Carmelo often gave par for the course effort against Porter on defense … more like he just didn’t respect the Hoya).

Gortat didn’t play well offensively (1-6 FGs) and struggled with Samuel Dalembert returning his calls to sender, but he didn’t let that so much affect his rebounding (10, all defensive) and presence otherwise. At least not too much.

Nene put up a final fight, set some stout screens, and tried to tend to his dunking hand callouses. Kevin Seraphin was OK (impressed Clyde Frazier with his ambidextrousness), but better than not (10 points, 7 shots, 2 boards, 4 fouls, minus 13). DeJuan Blair, and his four turnovers, were underwhelming (especially when paired with Seraphin). Garrett Temple was solid (still a keeper) and hit two 3s. John Lucas made his debut (almost 15 minutes, 0 shots, 2 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steal). And both Rasual Butler and Damion James (catch the runner) continued to make their case, potentially over Lucas. James hit a clutch 3 down the stretch, scored 13 points, made a bunch of little plays, and then fouled out. Butler didn’t shoot very well (2-8 FGs), but also made clutch plays and a 3 as part of Wittman’s small lineup to end the game.

The Washington Wizards, I can 80 percent declare (in psyche, not in roster), are ready for the regular season. The may still struggle in the early games, but aside from the five out of the first seven being on the road, the opening slate isn’t wholly unkind, at least not the first nine games until the Wizards host the Mavericks then Cavaliers in late-November. With last season’s 2-7 start in back of mind, amongst injuries and opening night suspensions, how the Wizards kick-start their campaign of relevance in those first nine games (roughly 11% of the season) will be tell-tale, but more so from who’s left to play. The Wizards are dirt-old, but franchises looking to step up in class get on the radar with home-grown talent. No one is trusting Otto Porter to go bounding into the rowboat from the dock just yet. It’s just nice that the preseason didn’t end on a down note despite the loss to the Knicks and better that the Wizards are riding into the season on some fresh treads not just named John Wall or Bradley Beal. Lace ‘em up just right, the Washington Wizards just promised to make the 2014-15 season fun.

The Bullets.

  • Like it or not, the will Wizards ride with Seraphin this season. He’s a better, lower risk option than what most teams have. Drew Gooden and DeJuan Blair are insurance, too, for all that matter. Kris Humphries, who evidently had a very good training camp and preseason leading up to getting hurt in the very first game, needs to come back soon to make Washington’s frontcourt depth meaningful. Elsewise, Wittman might have a tough time deciding who to give minutes to — Seraphin, Gooden, or Blair.
  • Knowing how much Marcin Gortat tends to get down on himself, he might stare at white walls for days after Wednesday night’s affair in the Garden. He missed some tough big-man shots, got one lucky one to barely roll in, and got embarrassed at the rim by Samuel Dalembert a couple times (he earned a trip to the foul line once).
  • Nene made both of his free throws. Also, #NeneJams.
  • You wonder if John Lucas was scared to shoot in his first audition in front of Wittman. Point guard is the impression he needs to make; that and not forcing the offense. Then again, if it was more of a true audition, maybe he would have found a way to get up a shot. If the Wizards are making cuts by next Monday before opening the season in Miami on Wednesday, there’s still a lot to be determined on the Verizon Center practice court.

End Vine, Otto Time.


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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.