Bullets on Wizards: Down Go the Long-Lions — Preseason Game 1 | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Bullets on Wizards: Down Go the Long-Lions — Preseason Game 1

Updated: October 3, 2017

It was quite an odd night at Capital One Arena…

John Wall did not play, Tyler Hansbrough was the best player on the Guangzhou Long-Lions, the game was streamed on Monumental Sports Network, but not televised. Both Phil Chenier and Steve Buckhantz were in the building, but Chenier was in the stands while Buckhantz did the streamed broadcast with Glenn Consor. The Washington Redskins were playing on Monday Night Football, which partly explained why the Capital One Arena was much less than half-full. And to top it all off, there was some type of statistical outage in the second half, so there were no stats made available after the game—not online, not on the JumboTron, and not from the Wizards PR crew.

The lack of stats presents a slight challenge when it comes to painting the proper post-game picture for the reader. But we are professionals here at Truth About It, and the proverbial show must go on. Let’s Bullet shall we?

  • To quote Marv Albert, Jodie Meeks showed the full repertoire on the night. Granted, the Long-Lions perimeter defense did not offer much resistance, but no other Wizards player was able to consistently take advantage like Meeks. It was not simply that he scored 19 points in 16 minutes on an efficient 7-for-9 effort from the field, it was the way he did it. Meeks hit a 3-pointer in transition, he hit one in the flow of the offense, he drove to the basket and hit floaters, and he went to the line—and uncharacteristically missed a free throw. Shooters typically gain confidence when the ball is going in the basket regardless of the circumstances and Meeks is no different. Said Meeks after the game, “I feel great. I just tried to come in and knock down shots. Fortunately, the first one went in so my confidence kept going from there.”
  • Kelly Oubre, much like Tyler Hansbrough, has one gear and that is to go all out, all the time—regardless of whether the opponent is the Long-Lions in preseason or the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. His offensive numbers do not jump off the page (10 points on 3-6 shooting, with three assists), but he used his improved ball-handling to be a bit more aggressive while getting in the lane. And on defense, his hands were active, his feet were moving, he routinely harassed the Long-Lions’ ball-handlers, and a couple of times, Oubre got on the floor to get the steal/rebound. Coach Brooks acknowledged that Oubre has made some offensive improvements, but much like he did last year, Brooks still judges Oubre on his defensive prowess, “As long as he focuses on the defensive end, I’m going to allow him to dribble the ball a little more than he’s used to dribbling, because he has improved.”
  • Before the game, Coach Brooks indicated that he’s “starting to get comfortable” with the reality that Markieff Morris—whether it be because of his trial or the hernia recovery—is going to miss some time to start the season. In the first preseason game, Jason Smith filled the power forward role with mixed results. On defense he sometimes had the task of guarding a motivated Tyler Hansbrough, and not only did he block two of his shots, but he also matched Hansbrough’s physicality. Offensively, Smith scored 12 points and hit only one of his four 3-points shots—for some perspective, he shot 47 percent from the 3-point line last year. But it is just preseason, not everyone can shoot like Jodie Meeks right away.
  • The MVPs of the second half were clearly Carrick Felix and Sheldon Mac. Felix has already caught the eye of Coach Brooks, who praised his ability to hustle despite the long odds of him making the roster, and he also won the Wizards bench over by taking a charge late in the game, which drew a standing ovation from the reserves. Mac, who amazingly committed six fouls in just 23 minutes, made a concentrated effort to get in the lane against the Long-Lions defense, and he seemed to have carte blanche once he arrived there. A couple times he maneuvered in the lane for dunks, and one time he threw a nice wrap-around pass to Chris McCullough:

  • Mike Scott did not participate in the Wizards’ team scrimmage last Friday, and after he sat out the first half of last night’s game, it seemed like he may have been nursing some type of injury. But he started the second half and played the entire third quarter. His offense looked understandably tentative at first, but Scott did show some passing ability with two sharp assists in the lane. He also took on Markieff Morris’s role as enforcer by giving Hansbrough both a stern talking to and a hard foul via a hard shoulder.

The Wizards second preseason game is Friday night at the Capital One Arena against the revamped New York Knicks.

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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.