The pace and space Wizards that we saw in the preseason was around today at times for the Washington Wizards in the season opener versus the Orlando Magic. In a sloppy turnover filled game it was John Wall’s layup with 12.7 seconds left that ended up winning the game for the Wizards.
Wall lead the Wizards with 22 points, six assists, seven rebounds, five blocks and three steals in a game that more resembled the sloppy play of a preseason game at times. Even though he filled nearly every statistical category, John also committed six turnovers. Beal lead the Wizards in scoring with 24 points but also had four turnovers of his own.
The Wizards continued the new commitment to taking three pointers, only making seven of the 28 they put up. They started off making their first four from distance, but at one point had a stretch in which they went 1-for-15. Washington played like a completely different team in the second half after playing with a great pace in the first. A sloppily played third period saw the Wizards and the Magic both struggle to score or get out in the transition. The Wizards were outscored by the Magic 16-12 in the period.
The fourth quarter involved a ton of trading baskets as the Wizards and Magic flipped runs. Washington went on a 12-0 run, but Orlando responded with a 9-0 run late in the period to make for a close finish.
Washington struggled for a large portion of the game on the defensive end. In the fourth, they were able to turn it on, especially John Wall. The point guard seems ready to take his shot blocking to a whole new level, as he swatted three shot attempts in the period.
Otto Porter also continued his strong play from the preseason and last year’s postseason. Despite the shooting struggles, he was 3-of-10 from the field for only seven points. However, he didn’t let that define him as he made plays elsewhere with sheer effort and a high basketball IQ. Porter led the team in plus/minus with +18 showing. On the opposite end of that spectrum was Ramon Sessions who had a -19.
Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic.
It wasn’t a great showing by Washington, but they start the season off with a win. With the new postseason qualifying now in place, stacking wins don’t hurt no matter how you get them.
The Wizards hit the road to face the Milwaukee Bucks, while the Magic host the Oklahoma City Thunder next. Both games are on the 30th, Washington’s home opener is on halloween as they will host the New York Knicks at the Verizon Center.