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Wizards take care of business in home opener

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The Wizards beat the Bucks as Otto Porter seizes a huge opportunity following Paul Pierce's ejection. Plus, John Wall gives trick-or-treaters a surprise on Halloween.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

1. Wizards win home opener, 108-97, against Milwaukee Bucks

After only three games, the Wizards have put themselves above the .500 mark, now sitting at 2-1 in this young season. The early sucker-punch from the Miami Heat gave Washington the wake-up call they needed and put away two feisty Orlando and Milwaukee teams thanks to suffocating defensive play. Here are my thoughts on the win:

  • The Wizards' ball movement, especially early on, was San Antonio Spurs-esque. Or for my soccer fans out there, FC Barcelona-esque. Whichever comparison you prefer, they were moving that ball around like it was a hot potato and that led to tons of open looks from the perimeter and easy buckets at the rim. Every single player was unselfishly passing that ball around beautifully. That can only be done if you've got willing big men, such as Nene and Marcin Gortat, who take pride in their passing game. It really reminded me of how San Antonio looked early on in their opening game win against the Dallas Mavericks on the NBA's opening night last week. And enjoy that comparison to the Spurs because it will probably be the first and last time you hear the Wizards being compared to them.
  • The Wizards' defense is suffocating when it wants to be. They forced the Bucks into 17 first-half turnovers and 27 overall, while getting their hands in passing lanes for 18 steals during the game. They looked extremely sharp jumping the lanes, anticipating where the next pass for the Bucks was headed.
  • Garrett Temple and Otto Porter were huge. Temple was much more shoot-ready and aggressive with the ball in his hands Saturday night, and was rewarded with a career-high 18 points. Porter took advantage of Paul Pierce's ejection by getting himself a career-high 21 points in 37 minutes. The points for both players are just the cherries on top of their overall performances, though. Porter and Temple were pests defensively and looked to score. They didn't hang around waiting for the ball to come their way. They were proactive and confident.
  • As I mentioned in my first thought, Nene and Gortat are incredibly willing passers. Most big men tend to make the most of their touches on the ball by slowing the offense down in order to feel their defender out and get their own shot up. Nene and Gortat understand the importance of ball movement and getting an open look, even if it's not for themselves.
Now, the recaps from around the web:







2. Paul Pierce gets the game ball

Well, sorta. His ejection led the way for Porter to get extended minutes and, more importantly, productive minutes.

Given the way matters transpired with Pierce and Porter, the Wizards' players and coaches had trouble deciding who should get the game ball.

''We said Otto,'' guard Garrett Temple said. ''And then I looked and said it needs to be Paul. Because if it weren't for Paul, Otto wouldn't be playing. He was laughing. He said, 'Yeah, I did it on purpose, man. I wanted y'all to get hype.'''

Randy Wittman had no qualms about giving Pierce the game ball either.

3. Wall surprises trick-or-treaters

Wall has always been big on giving back to the community and he has only gotten better at it after the release of his brand new signature shoe from Adidas. On Halloween, he surprised some young trick-or-treaters by giving them pairs of his new shoe, along with some t-shirts and tickets to an upcoming Wizards game.


3. Big pregame player introductions

The Wizards and Wale, the team's new creative liaison, teamed up for the player introductions and pregame video for their home opener. If you weren't at the game or missed CSN's coverage of it before tip off, check out Monumental Network's pregame video and full player introductions.

4. Hear from the team

John Wall

Otto Porter

Marcin Gortat

Nene

Garrett Temple