The Washington Wizards lost another preseason game, 93-89, to the New Orleans Pelicans. Bradley Beal was great yet again, scoring 30 points in 33 minutes, but his potentially game-winning three point attempt with 11 seconds left was blocked by Anthony Davis. This wasn't televised so the game notes are pretty light. Here are a few observations based on the box score and what I was able to pick up from the radio.
Beal started out on fire, making five of his first six field goal attempts to start the game. He finished the night with 30 points on 12 of 19 shooting and the overwhelming majority of the points were, as is usually the case, within the flow of the offense. Eight of Wall's 11 assists were to Beal and it's good that they're continuing to play off of each other so well. The only bad thing you can say about his performance is that he committed a team-high six turnovers. In his defense, New Orleans has a lot of length on the perimeter and Aminu in particular can be very disruptive. He was also solid in the clutch, drawing two free throws and hitting a three pointer in the last minute or so of the game when Washington was making its final run. Sure, Davis blocked his shot at the end of the game, but Washington wouldn't have even had the chance to win the game if he hadn't hit a three just a few seconds earlier.
Wall had a good if unspectacular game, finishing with 16 points and 11 assists and had a lot to do with Holiday's eight turnovers. You can live with him not scoring much if he's getting assists and the team is getting a lot of open three pointers as seemed to be the case tonight. He also came in late to attempt to win the game for Washington after the team initially blew a five or six point lead and seemed to be effective at getting to the basket all night, setting up a lot of the shots that Webster and Ariza missed. He could have easily finished with 15 or 16 assists if either wing had shot as accurately as they normally do.
Speaking of Webster, his three of 11 shooting is troubling. It's one game, probably nothing to worry too much about, but he needs to play at the level he reached last year in order to justify his contract.
Al Harrington is continuing to play very well and might force his way into a more prominent role than was originally envisioned for him. He had 13 points in 18 minutes on five of nine shooting to go along with four rebounds. He mentioned coming into camp 20 pounds lighter at media day and it seems like being lighter on his feet has helped him to turn back the clock at least a few years. If he can play 30 minutes a night as a stretch four, either starting or off the bench, and provide above average three point shooting and defense, Washington should be able to play somewhere around .500 ball until Emeka Okafor returns
Nene was very effective in his limited minutes. After seeing his shooting percentages take a bit of a dip over the last year and a half in Washington, he should be able to get his field goal percentage back up to the levels it was at in Denver if Wall and Beal are able to serve as the first and second options on offense. This is even more true if Harrington is able to play extended minutes at power forward, allowing Nene to have more space to operate around the basket.
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