The Washington Wizards defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, 102-94, in what was probably the most satisfying game of the preseason. The Wizards were playing without three of their key players, and they went with a closing lineup that was littered with deep bench players. The Milwaukee Bucks played their top guns for most of the game, including the end. And yet, despite all that, it was the Wizards that made the big plays late to come up with the victory on the road.
Here are some more notes on the game. This contest wasn't televised, so take these with a grain of salt.
Trevor Booker: How about THAT performance from Cook Book. He had 18 points by halftime and ended up with 22 in 22 minutes. It sounded like he hit a bunch on mid-range jumpers too, which is obviously huge for his development. If Nene continues to be sidelined by injury, Booker should start, and I think he'll seize that opportunity.
A.J. Price: I think we have the Wizards' opening-day starting point guard, folks. Price had 11 assists against just two turnovers, scored 17 points on his own and hit 3-4 from three-point range. His three with 30 seconds left put the Wizards up six and effectively sealed the game. Price has always been competent in every area except for his shot, but he's capitalized on open perimeter looks all preseason. If that carries over, credit Ernie Grunfeld for a nice signing.
Jordan Crawford: He scored 13 points before anyone on the Bucks could blink, and his play changed the game. Maybe, just maybe, bringing him off the bench to provide a spark works better than starting him.
Three-point defense: The only reason this was a game was because the Bucks shot 10-21 from three-point range. Without seeing the game, it's hard to pinpoint what exactly went wrong, but clearly, the Wizards need to work on their defensive rotations.
Jan Vesely: He did hit two clutch free throws at the end, but otherwise, it sounded like the same old Vesely. He committed five fouls in 19 minutes, and that simply can't happen anymore.
Cartier Martin: This wasn't his best effort, which is unfortunate because it was the game where he got the most playing time.
Bradley Beal: He did score 10 points, but he also had his shot blocked several times and struggled to guard Monta Ellis. Lots of people struggle to guard Ellis, but the blocked shots thing is concerning.
Trevor Ariza: He came alive a bit in the third quarter, but otherwise, it sounded like a typical Ariza game. It did sound like he was more decisive going to the basket, so that's progress.
Emeka Okafor: Didn't score at all, though I attribute that to a lack of touches.
The Wizards have two more preseason games next week (Wednesday vs. the Heat in Kansas City, Friday vs. the Spurs) before the October 30 opener. It seems like the rotation is starting to fall into place. We'll see if Wittman lets his starters play together more in the final two games.