There haven’t been many times when John Wall and Bradley Beal would both miss a game. And for a half, it felt like that the Wizards could hang in there with a starting backcourt of Tomas Satoransky and Sheldon McClellan in their place.
Then, reality hit in the third quarter when their offense sputtered to a 5 of 21 shooting performance, allowed Jimmy Butler to score 11 of his 37 points. The Wizards were able to bring the deficit down to single digits at times in the fourth quarter, but they didn’t have enough firepower left so they ended up with a 106-95 loss.
Ultimately, this wasn’t a bad loss in a vacuum. The Wizards were without both of their best two players but they’re now 2-7. Let’s get to the main takeaways from this game.
The Satoransky - McClellan backcourt more than held their own
The first quarter started on a strong note. McClellan made the Wizards’ first points of the game with a three pointer. Satoransky dished five assists despite not scoring in that period. Ultimately, McClellan scored 15 points on 5 of 9 shooting, and to his credit, he came out to play. Satoransky scored 12 points and dished 9 assists, while only committing 2 turnovers.
The first half was the backcourt’s better performance, at least in part because the Bulls just didn’t know what to expect from the scouting report.
The frontcourt was a tale of two halves
Marcin Gortat was awesome in the first quarter, when he scored 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, while Markieff Morris scored 12 of his 18 first half points in the second quarter when he was playing alongside the second unit. Both posts scored 18 points in the first half on 7 of 10 shooting each.
But in the third quarter, neither scored a single point. In fact, no low post player scored in the third. Those 12 minutes were ultimately the kiss of death tonight.
Morris ended up leading the Wizards with 24 points on 9 of 19 shooting along with 15 rebounds, but Gortat didn’t score another point in the game. Still, the Polish Machine grabbed another 14 rebounds.
A John Wall-less Wizards team must improve on fast break scores
It’s reasonable to expect that the Wizards won’t score as many fast break points when Wall is not on the floor, but Washington allowed Chicago to score 22 points on the break while they only scored six themselves. Less fast break points mean less easy looks at the basket. Satoransky made up for the lack of fast break points with being less turnover-prone, but it’s still not enough.
Otto Porter was stopped
Porter scored 8 points tonight, six of them in the third quarter. With both Wall and Beal out tonight, that forced Porter to be the primary option on the wing. This isn’t something he’s used to right now, but he’ll have to as he continues to grow.
Let’s face it, the Wizards are in free fall
You can say “It’s early.” You can say “The Wizards are still getting used to Scott Brooks.” But they are 2-7, and are one of the worst teams in the NBA. What’s more frustrating is that the starting five hasn’t been that bad as a unit. But you can’t play them 48 minutes a game every time.
The Wizards play the Philadelphia 76ers on the road next Wednesday at 7 p.m. The 76ers are the worst team in the East, but I wouldn’t call this a “gimme” by any means.