The Wizards had no problem getting up for this one. With the Miami Heat in town, the Wizards made it a point of emphasis to get back on track while spreading the floor out with shooters. It showed in the boxscore, as they connected on 12-three pointers en route to their win. Bradley Beal had 29 points on 15 shots to lead the way, dazzling the crowd with threes and crafty drives to the rim.
Better yet, Randy Wittman looked to have finally embraced "small ball," as Satchel suggested, particularly in the second quarter. He trotted out lineups with Al Harrington and Trevor Booker at the five, with the combination of Martell Webster, Trevor Ariza and Glen Rice Jr rounding out the rest of the front court. John Wall was able to consistently find shooters out of the pick and roll and made Miami pay for sagging off on the likes of Ariza and Beal.
The Wizards built a 10 point lead early in the third quarter and never looked back thanks to some hot shooting fromBeal and alertness on the defensive end by Wall. Miami continued to sag off shooters and Wall had no problem picking them apart out of the pick and roll.
That was fun. Here are my game notes in chronological order:
- Wizards start the game off with two turnovers, without even getting into their sets.
- After mishandling the ball in the backcourt, Wall decided to race up the floor despite all five of Miami defenders already past half court. He gets called for a charge as he runs into Mario Chalmers.
- Six quick points for Trevor Booker to start the first quarter. The Wizards have tried setting up the high/low pass with him and Kevin Seraphin, but haven't been able to beat the Miami defenders fronting Seraphin on the low block.
- Really like the Euro-step Wall showed on the fastbreak after a Jan Vesely rebound. That's something we haven't seen enough out of him in the past, and it will help cut down the charges he commits flying down the lane.
- Interesting to see Garrett Temple come in as the backup point guard over Eric Maynor. Looks like Wittman is still playing with his rotations.
- Wizards look really focused on stretching the floor beyond the corners. Part of it has to do with Miami taking away those corner threes, but the Wizards ran a nifty play freeing Martell above the break after running Beal off a double baseline screen.
- Martell has assumed more of the ball handling duties with the second unit. I'm skeptical whether that will hold up through the regular season, but it's worth experimenting with in preseason. He's initiated the offense quite a bit, and has even split two defenders once.
- Wittman has gone to the Wall/Rice Jr/Webster/Ariza/Harrington lineup, and it's deposited an Ariza three right away.
- Beal and Ariza are so good at catching and shooting immediately from the corners. Wall knows exactly when their defenders are sagging off, and delivers a bullet right on target.
- Appreciate the attempt by Beal to split the defenders to get the fastbreak layup, but you have to pass the ball off to one of your wings. It is preseason, however.
- Beal ends the half with 17 points in 19 minutes. He's shown off a sweet behind the back dribble to get himself in the lane, and has connected on a few threes as well.
- Beal picks up right where he left off in the first half. This time shows off an escape dribble to free himself for the jumper at the top of the key. He's showing off the entire repertoire tonight.
- Seraphin has really struggled tonight on his post-up opportunities. He's had a lot of trouble getting off clean looks, and has fell victim to a lot of Miami stunts.
- Wall is struggling to find his jumper tonight, but he's been an absolute maestro finding shooters out of the pick and roll. Whether it's cross-court passes into the corner or hitting the shooter on the strong-side the moment his defender sags off, he's been brilliant.
- It certainly feels like the coaching staff is hindering Webster's ability to spot up as he continues to play with the second unit. Taking away one of the best catch and shoot players from a season ago probably isn't the best way to use your mid-level exception.
- Vesely has been his usual foul-prone self, but he showed great awareness closing off the baseline twice in one possession.
- Wall checks back in while Maynor continues to sit. Really odd decision, especially given Garrett Temple's struggles tonight running the offense. But it worked out.
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