The Washington Wizards lost to the New Orleans Pelicans, 88-84 on Monday in Baltimore. Though the Wizards helped turn around a 69-48 deficit in the beginning of the fourth quarter into a winnable game toward the end, they actually made this game interesting at the end, only down by three points, 87-84 with 18 seconds left in the game after Rasual Butler made three free throws. Ultimately it wasn't enough, and I wouldn't put too much stock in the comeback. It was done on the backs of the bench players, and without either teams' starting units returning to close the game out.
And now, some takeaways that we learned:
1. A Wizards starting backcourt without John Wall and Bradley Beal is a nightmare
With Wall not playing tonight against the Pelicans, it's expected that there will be a setback. Instead of a starting backcourt of Wall and the injured Bradley Beal, veteran point guard Andre Miller and Garrett Temple took their place. Though Washington raced to a quick 8-4 lead, they ultimately allowed New Orleans to go on a 24-6 run the rest of the first quarter. In that time, the Wizards shot 26.3% while the Pelicans shot 56.5%. The Wizards never were able to make any run of significance from there.
This isn't to say that Miller and Temple aren't good players -- they both provide solid contributions off the bench -- but they just aren't an ideal starting backcourt. That showed tonight.
2. New Orleans' younger frontcourt dominates Washington's older frontcourt
The Pelicans started their top players including in the frontcourt which is anchored by their All-Star big man, Anthony Davis, and Omer Asik. In one sentence, they just had their way against the Wizards' frontcourt of Marcin Gortat and Nene who are both older.
In the first half (and the game), Davis made 7-of-8 shots from the field, good for 14 points. He was very efficient during this game, both from the basket and from midrange:
And he even made this tip slam at the Wizards' expense:
Anthony Davis is pretty good https://t.co/DovxgeV08S— Umair Khan (@UKhanNBA) October 21, 2014
Asik didn't have an efficient night shooting the ball, but he grabbed 11 rebounds in 23 minutes of action. The Pelicans didn't make the playoffs ... yet under the Davis era. But he is poised to take another step forward this season in the Big Easy.
3. Otto Porter continues to be dependable
If there's a positive from this loss, it is the performance of Otto Porter. The third pick in the 2013 Draft continues to show us promise during the preseason. I know it's starting to be non-news at this point, but Porter continued to deliver timely baskets to make this contest competitive late in the game. He scored 12 points in the game, 5 of them in the fourth quarter when the Wizards made their comeback.
And those glasses... they may be prescription lenses, but they do look pretty cool on him:
Wizards highlight of the night
Andre Miller had this nice dish to Marcin Gortat on the break late in the second quarter:
Professor Miller's class is in session https://t.co/aJZel9xfaR— Umair Khan (@UKhanNBA) October 21, 2014