Opening Statements 05: Wizards at Magic | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Opening Statements 05: Wizards at Magic

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Updated: November 5, 2016

Washington Wizards vs Orlando Magic

The Wizards got over a minor bump in the road in their first win of the season on Friday night; minor compared to the (major) bump in the road that was last season, as it was called by team brass. Anyhow, they shot 38.8% versus Atlanta—and won! A sub-39% performance and a victory has only happened seven times for the Wizards since John Wall entered the league. A coach might relish in the fact that his team ‘grinded out’ a win, meaning that you’ll take it but you really have to reach to find numerous encouraging moments in such an ugly contest.

One such moment: Bradley Beal looked slightly more comfortable, at one point zooming down a lane parted like the Red Sea to throw down a jam. He hung on the rim to gain balance but also lifted up his knees in the process just to show he was a little bit extra—to remind you that he existed. A late 3-pointer to put the Wizards up seven with four minutes left was also big in light of an otherwise paltry 6-for-16 shooting effort. But Beal’s career-high in free throw attempts (14) and makes (13, he missed a technical) made great strides in elevating his presence, even as overall struggles from the field continue (still 38%). He is an important player and it matters that he feels important.

And then the most refreshing part of the 1-3 season thus far: Scott Brooks. He still has a ways to go before he earns the trust and respect of fans, media, and watchers otherwise—much less his team. His willingness to try new lineups in a manner that rewards good play, while with a demeanor that does not jerk around his players, goes a long way, especially in comparison to his predecessor. Of course, it can’t/won’t be a “fluid” situation all season, as the coach himself might say. Right now, Brooks is probably learning as much about his team as we are about both.

The Wizards are no longer winless, folks, unlike the 0-4 Sixers, 0-6 Pelicans, and 0-5 Mavericks. And on the tail end of their first back-to-back of the season—one in which John Wall will sit out for rest and Tomas Satoransky will start—they face the 2-3 Magic in Orlando. Washington owns 12 straight wins over the Magic, the most recent coming at the scene of tonight’s next test: the Amway Center. Another win this evening won’t completely wash off the stench off a disappointing start; and a loss, even without their All-Star, will keep the array of issues bubbling through the surface. You gotta start somewhere—and as Brooks said after losing to Toronto, “It’s not the start that we wanted but it’s the one that we have.”

 

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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.