Key Legislature: Wizards 84 vs Pelicans 88 — Preseason Game 7, Baltimore Bounced by the Birds | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 84 vs Pelicans 88 — Preseason Game 7, Baltimore Bounced by the Birds

Updated: October 21, 2014

Truth About’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment for Washington Wizards preseason contest No. 7 versus the New Orleans Pelicans in Baltimore, via Kyle Weidie from the confines of the District of Columbia.


[Randy tries to start an early fire.]

DC Council Key Legislature

by Kyle Weidie.

Even if you don’t want to read too much into the preseason, you can’t say the Wizards are accomplishing what they want. Without several players available (John Wall, Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce, Martell Webster, Glen Rice, and Kris Humphries) on Monday night against a relatively full squad from New Orleans, the Washington Wizards got blown out, except in the final score. Nene and Marcin Gortat still started alongside the formidable Andre Miller, Garrett Temple, and Otto Porter, making excuses unbecoming. But the second unit’s second unit, led by Porter, a late-game resurgent DeJuan Blair, a recovering Kevin Seraphin, the opportunistic Garrett Temple, and the soon-to-be-somewhere-else Damion James, fought back to give those remaining until the end in Baltimore something to watch. The Wizards won the fourth quarter 36-19, but still lost the game, 88-84.

The first quarter started well enough, until you felt Anthony Davis heating up, which was barely halfway in. So much needs to come together for this Washington team and you wonder if it’s the focus or the familiarity. Too quickly both Nene and Porter let an offensive rebound go unsecured. Nene tried to force offensive action in some instances, but got justifiably frustrated when non-cutters did not realize that he’s a willing passer up until the very last moment. It also became clear that Porter, as to be expected, needs work before he can keep up with the Tyreke Evans’ of the world (who once upon a time pushed Gilbert Arenas over the hill). Washington was out-rebounded 17-6 in the first quarter, partially due to 26.3 percent shooting, which was also related to them getting outscored 14-28 over the first 12 minutes (the Pelicans closed the period on a 13-2 run). In other news, Andre Miller is not currently a point god. Him knowing his limits disguises his age. Seraphin the kid came in and looked pretty bad, initially, and also later on.

The second quarter was as much of a struggle. Seraphin continued. The Wizards had no authority. Young and old were outscored 21-15 and the Pelicans took a 20-point lead into half, 49-29. The one positive was newly displayed confidence from Temple, tied for the team lead in points at half with six. He blocked Omer Asik’s layup attempt, and followed that up with a floater.

Temple wasn’t on fire (4-9 FGs, 0-3 3Ps), but some of his misses looked good for a change (nah mean?), and he shot 5-for-6 on free throws. Temple notched five assists, three rebounds, two turnovers, and four fouls to go with his 13 points in 42 minutes (you can bet G-Temp doesn’t mind the preseason exercise). Temple did not end the game on a confident note, however. Down four points after clawing back, he received the ball at the top of the arc with fewer than nine seconds on the clock. He couldn’t use a screen—if that was what Seraphin was doing—and wasted time before passing the ball to Porter on the move for a long, desperate two that missed to end the game. Nine seconds is much too long for something that little.

New Orleans rested its starters in the final period, and Washington did the same with Nene, Gortat and Miller. Temple played all 12 of the fourth, as did Seraphin, Blair and Damion James. Porter and Rasual Butler split time.

Seraphin scored 10 points in the fourth quarter in a vain attempt to bounce back after suffering his biggest preseason setback during the first half. The garbage-time points mostly came against Alexis Ajinça. Sometimes Seraphin fared well against double-teams. Once he charged away from one and scored—the defense happened to drive him toward the basket. Another time no double was needed—Seraphin threw a pick-six. Step two after finding a willingness to pass is not telegraphing them. He put together a slew of classic #kslife instances … travels, fouls, and exasperated #WittmanFaces. After one instance of frenzied lost innocence, a yell echoed in what was previously known as the Baltimore Arena. “Slow down!” bellowed one Randy Wittman, as heard over television. The T.V. broadcast was also fun because voices of Baltimorean encouragement could be heard as Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier took time to breathe and process the beatdown. It was all in good fun.

One preseason game left. Can they make it? They can. The regular season opener in Miami on October 29 will feature a Washington squad be missing several cogs, though. The beginning will be shaky. Once healthy (and with Kris Humphries), one would suspect that Wittman’s defensive ship will steady, even if the crew will miss Trevor Ariza as a deckhand more than they realize.

But the offense, it is out of sync in major ways. The canned response is that with injuries and needed rest (or preservation), the lead roles haven’t had enough court time. Washington only had 11 available players on Monday night. With new veterans and many returnees otherwise, team management hopes the spark of familiarity can easily spread.

Wittman will be the first to acknowledge that the Wizards had more than enough to compete Monday night. This is a veteran team, even if they are trying to get young guys experience in the preseason. The supporting cast is veteran, and guys aiming for the 15th spot—James, Butler, and even Xavier Silas—are of age. Somewhat baffling is how the Wizards could get blown out in the first half with Porter, Gortat, and Miller each getting 16-17 minutes, Nene getting 13, and Gooden, Seraphin, and Butler getting 7-9 minutes each. New Orleans, as mentioned, had a full boat with a healthy starting lineup of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Anthony Davis, and Omer Asik (plus Ryan Anderson off the bench), but the Pelicans are not necessarily as deep as their beaks.

The Wizards plod onto a final preseason game against the Knicks in New York. Will Wittman rest everyone and trot out Silas, Temple, James, Butler, and Seraphin for the full 48? Or will a desperation for reps, even just a dose, take precedent? Wittman called his team’s first half performance “inexcusable,” as relayed by Comcast’s J. Michael. Hopefully for the distant future, that’s not code for a coach who needs to get his act together. What’s likely for the Wizards: despite depth, they’re still a team not necessarily built to withstand, without a true star, driving too many miles on a donut tire. But they have the overall talent to compete with anyone in the East. It starts with Wittman and Wall. At this point in the preseason, a C-minus grade for the duo would be generous. The regular season is a week away from Wednesday, ready or not.

The Bullets.

  • Some stats don’t lie.
  • Pelicans out-rebounded the Wizards 29-13 in the first half, and outscored them 34-8 in the paint and 15-2 in fastbreak points. That equals a 20-point deficit after two quarters.
  • Xavier Silas saw spot duty (less than 10 minutes) and didn’t do much with it (0-3 FGs, 0-2 3Ps, 2-2 FTs) after being given primo chances against Detroit and Maccabi Haifa. He’ll likely get some parting minutes on Wednesday, and the Wizards do like the glimpses they’ve seen of Silas, but they are likely seeking something more with the 15th spot in consideration of all the injuries (and more importantly, perimeter defense).
  • That is, if the Wizards even use the 15th spot. The team trainers are busy already, but a fully healthy team is in reasonable sight and management might not want to limit flexibility at this point.
  • Rasual Butler is not out of the question; he’s been solid, but not lights out.
  • DeJuan Blair made a decent showing in Baltimore (8 points, 4-8 FGs), but most of his damage came against Jeff Withey, and he is still very foul and turnover prone.

End Vine.


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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 lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.