The Washington Wizards made a couple of moves prior to the trade deadline that changed the makeup of their team a bit. Obviously the news about John Wall rupturing his achilles played a role into Washington moving one of their “core” pieces in Otto Porter Jr. Markieff Morris was also traded prior to the deadline this week as well.
Last night was the first opportunity for the players currently on the team to see how their new teammates would fit in. It’s fair to say that it was a success as Washington beat the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 119-106. The Cavs saw the return of forward Kevin Love, but he only played six minutes.
Both Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker shined in their debuts. Portis scored 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting, including going 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Jabari displayed his overall game witha line of seven points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. Bradley Beal didn’t have the best of nights shooting the ball, but that didn’t stop him from recording a double-double with 25 points and 12 assists. Every member of the starting five but Tomas Satoransky recorded double figures.
Cleveland was led by their first round pick Collin Sexton. He had 27 points and four assists, attacking from the opening tip until the final buzzer. Jordan Clarkson scored 24 off the bench and Marquese Chriss had 13. Larry Nance Jr. had a career-high 19 rebounds to go with 10 points.
Portis scored 16 points in a little over five first quarter minutes. Beal came out moving the ball, tallying six points and seven assists. That played a role in Washington building a 14 point lead early on. Collin Sexton scored 10 points and David Nwaba had eight in the opening period as well to pace Cleveland.
The second unit lineup that featured Portis and Parker gave Washington a burst of energy. They also gave the Wizards different dimensions on both ends of the floor. Portis is a viable option on both the low block and has the ability to hit the outside shot and put the ball on the floor a bit at 6’11. Parker was able to hit the glass and push the ball in transition himself versus having to give it to a guard, he also displayed his vision as he created for others.
The Cavaliers refused to go away, never letting that Wizards lead climb to 20 or 25. They went into the half down 14 with three different players having scored 12 points.
The third quarter is where Cleveland dominated Washington. It started off with the teams trading baskets, then the Cavs simply outworked the Wizards. The trio of Sexton, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr. were everywhere during this third quarter run. Washington’s starters struggled to score consistently and their defensive intensity left much to be desired during this quarter. The Wizards regained a bit of stability late in the period after Cleveland cut it to five. Washington was able to push the lead back to 10 with a late basket by Beal.
Brooks had Portis and Parker on the court for much of the fourth quarter. Bobby was on the floor until the bench was emptied. He scored 10 more points in the period as Washington put Cleveland away. They were able to hold the Cavs to just 28% shooting from the floor, while shooting 54% themselves.
It’s only one game and it was against the Cavaliers, but Washington got a chance to see how their new pieces fit in.
Washington is in Chicago tonight to take on the Bulls and now former Wizard, Otto Porter Jr.