Primetime, Preseason Heat from Wall — Washington at Miami, DC Council (Preseason Game 6) | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Primetime, Preseason Heat from Wall — Washington at Miami, DC Council (Preseason Game 6)

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Updated: October 22, 2015

The D.C. Council… TAI’s highlights, seen and heard, from each Washington Wizards game. Now: Wizards at Heat, preseason game 6, Oct. 21, 2015, via Kyle Weidie (@truth_about_it).

M.V.P.

John Wall was excused from last Saturday’s preseason game in Milwaukee so that he could participate in a cause for which he cares deeply. A hero to Miyah, a young cancer patient, Wall became her big brother and friend early last year, helping her meet another idol, Nicki Minaj. When Miyah passed away in December, Wall fought back tears remembering her after a game—the Wizards were victorious and he dedicated the win to her. He missed that preseason game against the Bucks to attend a “Light the Night Walk” for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in D.C. in Miyah’s honor. Something so small on Wall’s part was so big for a 6-year-old and her family and simply genuine in the eyes of those paying attention.

So a primetime ESPN but preseason affair for the Wizards on Wednesday was the second of two “What’s Life Like Without” games. With Wall absent versus upstart Milwaukee on Saturday, Washington won by four points. The ball moved (31 assists, 37 field goals), Bradley Beal paced the team in scoring (18 points, 21 minutes), and the world wasn’t such a scary place … even if LWW (Life Without Wall) would ultimately be barren of fruit.

Bradley Beal sat under the tag of ‘planned rest’ on Wednesday. Gary Neal filled in nicely, but Wall was in the driver’s seat and had his hand on the radio—when Brad’s riding shotgun, at certain times he gets to choose the station. The Wizards clearly have a ceiling without Beal, but they also can be A-OK without him.

Wall’s statline in 26 minutes doesn’t mean you can treat yourself to a cupcake—14 points (4-10 FGs, 1-2 3Ps), 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, and 4 turnovers. But he owned that game, and he owned Washington’s new offense (and even got a little James Harden-y). The increased amount of optimal 3-point attempts will a boon for sure, but stay woke: the Wall-Gortat pick-and-roll combination is the bread and butter of all this. Wall is a hyphen to everyone on the team, just about. He had a couple boofs in the second quarter, failing to throw a lob to Kris Humphries like they were playing swimming pool basketball with a beach ball, and immediately following that up with a pull-up transition miss when lanes and shooters were developing nicely. I think Wall realized this and subsequently forced his way to the line for charity points, which is something Washington’s starters generally accomplished, out-shooting the Heat from the free throw line 2-for-24 to 7-for-10. Let’s see that in the regular season.

L.V.P.

LVP? The outcome of the game’s separation from reality.

OK, let’s take a step back. Miami and Washington, Southeast Division foes when divisions have never mattered less, are primed to have some very competitive matchups this season (they meet four times). But also: In a 105-110 loss, Washington’s starters outscored Miami’s 75-39. Wall was plus-15, Otto Porter was plus-17, and Marcin Gortat was plus-13. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade each salvaged a minus-4 in plus-minus because they stayed in the game until the end (helping fuel a comeback). Luol Deng and Goran Dragic, matched up against Porter and Wall, finished a respective minus-18 and minus-15. Wall, Porter, and Gortat sat for an entire fourth quarter in which the Wizards were outscored 24-38.

The Wizards were the more dominant team in both speed and physicality, even if Hassan Whiteside, in just his second preseason game, had moments against Gortat. I’m not sure Miami’s platoon of forward-like figures off the bench—Josh McRoberts, Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen, and Amar’e Stoudemire—matter much even if they do bring depth. If anything, credit Gerald Green, whose 28 points pumped Miami’s meaningless win. Green would’ve been a nice athletic/3-point shooting get for Washington (he signed with the Heat for one year for the minimum), but Gary Neal and maybe one day Alan Anderson will suffice. All of this means that the flash of Washington’s dominance with John Wall punching gas and pumping breaks carrying over to regular season wins in Miami remains to be seen, but merely on the meaningless preseason affair (and assuming health otherwise), I’d wager the Wizards to be 3-1 season series winners. Now go forth with that information.

X-Factor.

We shall rank three x-factorials of the basketball game:

  1. Otto Porter has increased his NTQR (Neck Thickness Quality Rating) and is now unafraid that his head may get knocked off on drives to the basket. He had a couple nice ones and did his usual thang—shut down Luol Deng—but now Otto has another hill to climb: getting respect from the refs. At one point he got Debo’d by Chris Bosh—a defensive foul called on Otto when it should’ve been called the other way around—and that had Hubie Brown all aflutter about the injustice of the ESPN broadcast. Otto also had some nice defensive possessions against Bosh.
  2. Kris Humphries was shootin’, and made Bosh look. But it wasn’t just Humphries giving national TV viewers a peek of his newfound 3-point shot, it was his 6-for-6 effort from the free throw line, 12 rebounds and 3 steals, and his general aggressive and confident play that put opponents on notice.
  3. Ramon Sessions continues to impress—10 points (4-6 FGs), 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals (but 3 turnovers) in 22 minutes off the bench. His minus-20 in plus-minus was deceptive since Sessions scooted around with court replacement-level players frozen in preseason time, but his ability to push the best much better than anyone on the team not named Wall is a slept-on component of this new Wizards offensive machine.

That Game Was [Blank].

….Was….. oh my gosh why do we keep having to talk about the preseason? At least NBA.com could throw us a bone by providing preseason lineup data; it doesn’t seem to be the case that they do (not publicly). And thus we are left none-the-wiser about all the wacky lineups Wittman has been playing, such as the Sessions, Temple, Oubre, Dudley, Gooden crew we saw against the ex-Heatles on Wednesday.

Ramon
Garrett
Kelly
Jared
& Drew

An Eastern European-based boy-band roster of Americanized first names if I’ve ever heard one.

Three Things We Saw.

  1. Jared Dudley made his debut and Garrett Temple played in his second preseason game since the first on Oct. 6. Both looked rusty but also slightly better than expected. Dudley had a nice drive-and-dish to Kelly Oubre and Temple get himself a put-back dunk. Yes, a put-back dunk. Yes, an angel just got its wings due to bells ringing somewhere. Temple gets picked on sometimes (raises hand), and was part of summer trade rumors with the Utah Jazz at one point, but he could also be a sleeper for a sneaky-good year.
  2. Drew Gooden fouled out of a preseason game in 17 minutes; got caught rotating late and dunked on by a hyperactive boy named Tyler Johnson; and later appropriately fouled the shit out of Johnson to avoid getting dunked on again. It was a sight to see and we saw it. Also, Gooden was 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. That ain’t going away.
  3. Josh Douglas “Jorts” Harrellson played the game’s last three minutes, entering for Humphries, and made two hugely critical blocks. First, against Chris Andersen with Miami up 103-101 with two minutes left and then against Goran Dragic with Miami up 104-103 with 53 seconds left. But then, with the Wizards down 105-108, Harrellson was given the ball in a tough spot on the baseline and missed an 18-foot jumper (long 2!, you betcha) with 15 seconds left.

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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.