The Wizards got a strong win against the New Orleans Pelicans last night, just hours after receiving news that Nene and DeJuan Blair (plus Xavier Silas and Daniel Orton) would be suspended for the first regular season game against the Miami Heat on Oct. 29. A victory helped ease the sting, so let's get right to yesterday's action.
1. A win in Jacksonville!
John Wall led the team in turnovers and points, with nine and 14, respectively, but we'll get into that a little later. The Junior Mafia led the team down the stretch in last night's win.
Comcast SportsNet's coverage can be read here.
WizardsXTRA gave a quick, fun interactive in-game Twitter coverage that can be seen here.
And of course, read our recap here.
2. Nene and Blair suspended
The two "Bad Boys" were suspended for the season opener for their actions in Monday's melee against the Chicago Bulls, meaning the team will be short-handed come Oct. 29th regular season opener in Miami.
Paul Pierce and Joakim Noah were each fined $15,000 for their shoving (and poking) match.
Here's one last look at the scuffle in case you missed it somehow:
We covered this incident thoroughly yesterday, so I'll leave you with thoughts on the incident from Miami's perspective. Ira Winderman covers the Heat for the Sun Sentinel.
So Wizards' Blair, Nene, Orton, Silas suspended one regular-season for preseason scuffle. Winner? Heat, who host Wizards in season opener.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) October 8, 2014
Well said. From the WIzards' standpoint, there's not much that can be said at this point. No Nene, no Blair for the opener. Warranted or not, this team wanted to be Bad. Now the other players need to pick up the slack for that. Let's move on now.
Winderman also mentioned this in his report:
"The Heat are expected to be at full strength for the opener, although coach Erik Spoelstra has put that somewhat in doubt when offering updates about power forward Josh McRoberts, who had offseason toe surgery."
3. Junior Mafia step up late
Wall led the team with 14 points, but it was Glen Rice Jr. and Otto Porter who came up big in the clutch last night as the bench finished off a close game late. Rice finished with nine points and seven boards, making some huge plays late to extend the lead.
Glen Rice coming up big again! Puts #Wizards up with 15 foot J, then feeds KS for an alley-oop! Wiz up 90-86, 1:21 left #WizPelicans— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 9, 2014
Rice knocks down two free-throws, puts #Wizards up 92-87, 34.4 sec remain #WizPelicans— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 9, 2014
Otto finished with 12 points and five boards in 22 minutes of action. He looked good, according to those who actually saw the game.
Otto! Great footwork, hits another fadeaway jumper, this one ties the game at 86, 3 min left! #WizPelicans— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 9, 2014
.@WashWizards with their 2nd straight preseason win tonight, beating the New Orleans Pelicans, 94-89. Otto Porter with 12 pts & a nice game.— Steve Buckhantz (@SteveBuckhantz) October 9, 2014
Otto even got some love from Wizards radio guys, Dave Johnson and Glenn Consor, after the game.
Otto (12p-5r) talks w/ @DJohnsonWTOP & @GCtalks after tonight's win in Jacksonville #WizPelicans pic.twitter.com/g5IrL5kpt1— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 9, 2014
No word on whether or not he wore his rec-specs last night.
4. Wall has nine turnovers
Nine total turnovers. Seven in the first quarter.
Obviously this isn't ideal. After the game, Wall explained his struggles and why he got careless so often. Against the Bulls he shot poorly and had just one turnover. Last night he shot well but had nine turnovers. He's adjusting. That's what preseason is for. He knows that. Check out his postgame interview with Monumental Network.
To hear Nene's thoughts, click here.
For Bradley Beal's postgame interview, click here.
And to hear Kevin Seraphin, click here.
5. Wall ranked No. 18
Slam released their Top 50 NBA player rankings yesterday. They ranked Wall No. 18, which is better than the No. 31 spot that Sports Illustrated had him. He wasn't happy then, he certainly won't be happy now, either, despite the improved position. Though they did give him quite a bubbly review.
"Imagine if Iverson was also a slam dunk champion who had the best chase-down block abilities of anyone not named LeBron and you get an idea of what exactly John Wall brings to the table."
Click here to read the full review of why Wall was ranked No. 18.