Cleveland gave several players the day off, including LeBron James, Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and Jae Crowder. Jason Smith was the only Wizard who got the full night off for rest, but all of Washington’s healthy starters were taken out of the game after one stint in the first quarter and never returned.
During the short time the Wizards’ starters were in, they were able to build an early lead. Cleveland responded in the second quarter, rattling off a 22-4 run to take a convincing lead of their own. Washington finally got out of their funk late in the second quarter to close the deficit to one heading into halftime.
From there, Washington slowly crept away. Carrick Felix scored 13 points in the second half, while Kelly Oubre and Donald Sloan each added another dozen as the Wizards pulled away to sweep their preseason homestand. Washington will play their first road game of the preseason on Wednesday night in Miami against the Heat.
The NBA is cruel
Sheldon Mac was having a really great preseason. His shot was looking better, his court vision had improved significantly, and he looked like someone who could come in and make a difference if needed.
During the game, he was carried off the floor with a lower leg injury which the Wizards fear is a torn Achilles. If that’s the case, it wouldn’t be surprising if Washington waived him. Washington needs a healthy two-guard to provide some insurance behind Bradley Beal and Jodie Meeks and Mac’s salary this season is only partially guaranteed. If he isn’t able to play, it’s a pretty simple business decision for the Wizards. Hopefully for Mac’s sake it doesn’t come to that.
UPDATE: According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, if Mac is ruled out for the season, the Wizards have to pay his full salary, not just the guaranteed part.
The Wizards Sheldon Mac has $50K in guaranteed money but Washington is responsible for his $1.3M salary if he is out for the year.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) October 8, 2017
Part 1: A player injured in the preseason that has an Exhibit 9 (non-guaranteed camp contract) in his contract would be owed $6K.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) October 8, 2017
Part 2: The Wizards were not allowed to put an Ex. 9 in the contract of Mac because he signed last year to a partial guarantee.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) October 8, 2017
Starting with small lineup
The Wizards gave Jason Smith the day off, so Scott Brooks opted to go small with Kelly Oubre in the starting lineup. There wasn’t a lot to see considering they only played together for a few minutes in the first quarter before Brooks gave Wall, Beal, Porter and Gortat the rest of the night off.
That said, the unit had a nice rhythm, and it was nice to see the Wizards use Porter set up the offense a bit from the elbow where you’d normally see Markieff Morris. If Washington can harness that the right way, it gives them some extra versatility which could prove useful in the regular season, especially while Markieff Morris recovers.