Sixers vs. Wizards: If a Game Is Played at the Verizon Center But No One Attends… | Wizards Blog Truth About

Sixers vs. Wizards: If a Game Is Played at the Verizon Center But No One Attends…

Updated: October 14, 2016

TAI’s highlights, seen and heard, from each Washington Wizards game. Now: Wizards vs Sixers, Preseason Game 4, October 13, 2016, from the Verizon Center, via Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace).

If you ever wondered what games are like at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, wonder no more. The Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards brought the disjointed, frenetic pace of Vegas to the Verizon Center.

This game had everything summer league offers: enticing rookies (Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Tomas Satoransky), an overenthusiastic fan base chanting “MVP” for a guy who has never played an NBA game, a bunch of ugly turnovers and extended minutes from guys you have never heard of.

Neither team scored a point until a Marcin Gortat free throw with 9:11 remaining in the first quarter. Take a look at this riveting action:


Washington eventually opened up a 10-point first quarter lead and never looked back. The Sixers kept it respectable heading into halftime but the game was essentially over after the Wizards began the third quarter on a 32-11 run to open up a 76-43 lead.

With Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers getting underway at about the same time the Wizards blew open the game, it is fair to wonder whether anyone other than the announced attendance of 10,242 souls even watched the game. It is also fair to wonder whether the actual attendance came anywhere near the announced crowd.

Just like the games in Vegas, it’s not about who wins and who loses. So let’s abandon the pretense of a traditional recap and focus on what we learned over the 48 minutes.

John Wall is Back.

Just ask Jerami Grant.

And Grant’s father.

Wall blew by Sergio Rodriguez and showed no hesitation on his way to the basket. Wall looked a little shaky in his debut versus the New York Knicks on Monday, but he showed no rust against the Sixers. It’s a great sign for a guy who was not even a lock to play in any preseason games as recent as a month ago.

Andrew Nicholson is the Slowest Gunslinger in the East.

Washington has a long and storied history with the lead-footed players (Jared Dudley, Drew Gooden, Andre Miller and Paul Pierce come to mind) and Andrew Nicholson may be the slowest of them all. John Wall summed him up perfectly:

He’s smooth – old school. That’s what we call him, ‘old school.’ Every time, he gets the ball in the post, he scores every time unless you double team him. He knows how to make the right play. He works on his three, he can pump fake, he has one of the best pump fakes in the league. He doesn’t move fast, have nothing flashy, if you see him come to a park, he’s probably the last person you pick, but then you’d turn around and he’d give you thirty. Just having him on the team is great.

Marcus Thornton Shoots Like There’s No Tomorrow.

If you put a gun to Thornton’s head and told him you would pull the trigger unless he shoots every time he touches the ball, his game would not change much.

Scott Brooks said before the game he would give Thornton around 20 minutes in his first preseason action. He ended up logging 17 minutes off the bench and parlayed that into 1-for-7 shooting with four turnovers. Thornton managed to record a plus/minus of -11 in a game the Wizards won by 21 points. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem if Thornton was an “in case of emergency” 15th man, like Drew Gooden in recent years. But Thornton is being counted on as the best back-court shooter on the bench.

Trey Burke Heard the Whispers.

Washington’s presumptive backup point guard must have read all the positive pixels about Tomas Satoransky. Burke was shot out of a cannon and played his best game in a Wizards’ uniform. He only dished one assist but he played well off the ball and created some nice scoring chances off the dribble. Washington has very little outside shooting on the bench (see above) so there is an opportunity for Burke to carve out a microwave role with the second unit.

Bradley Beal Progressing Nicely.

The headline will be Beal’s 22 points in 24 minutes on 8-14 FG (5-6 3PT), but another promising development is Beal’s improved ball-handling.  He played point guard on several possessions and his handle is markedly tighter than last year. Beal and Satoransky are both capable of running point, which significantly lessens the burden on Wall to facilitate the offense.

Party on Wayne.

Adam Rubin on EmailAdam Rubin on Twitter
Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.