Wizards come up short in OT against Nets
Coach Randy Wittman has worked mostly on defense with his team leading into Tuesday's preseason opener vs. the Brooklyn Nets.
While the starting unit was smooth offensively as it got the Wizards out to a 23-14 lead, the game got away when John Wall, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Jan Vesely and Nene sat.
The Wizards committed 12 first-half turnovers though they trailed only 51-47. A usually solid three-point shooting team, the long ball failed. They missed 10 of their first 11 through three quarters until Martell Webster buried a corner three to cut the deficit to 81-80.
But the Nets, who rested most of their starters in the second half, still managed to secure the victory with the likes of Tyshawn Taylor, Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic, Jorge Gutierrez and Christapher Johnson.
The Wizards, who were playing their starters except for Ariza deep into the fourth quarter, couldn't overcome it until the end when rookie Glen Rice put back a miss by Maynor with a two-handed dunk. It was initially waved off as basket interference with less than one second remaining but officials ruled it was a legal play and the game went to overtime tied at 97.
With a lineup of reserves, except for Vesely, the Wizards played from behind the entire extra period.
Turning point: Trailing by four points at halftime, the Wizards came out flat with the starting lineup they used to begin the game. The Nets still went on a 17-8 run with reserves Shaun Livingston, Andray Blatche, Andrei Kirilenko, Reggie Evans and Alan Anderson.
Best in show: John Wall and Nene scored 22 of the Wizards' 47 points in the first half. At this time last season, their two best players were in street clothes with injuries. Surprisingly, Wall played 30 minutes and Nene 22 while the Nets limited four of their five starters, including Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, to less than 13. Wall and Nene combined to score 35 points.
Problem area: The second unit of Eric Maynor, Garrett Temple, Martell Webster, Al Harrington and Kevin Seraphin was ineffective and totally out of sync, especially on the offensive end where they couldn't get good looks. Given Webster's three-point shooting, he seems like a good fit to help spread the floor. It didn't work out that way.
Talking points: 1). Wall's jump shot looks better though he went 5-for-14. He was more comfortable shooting off the dribble. 2). Vesely started at power forward and played better than Seraphin, both of whom are competing to crack the lineup with Emeka Okafor (herniated disk) out. Vesely had only three points on 1-for-4 shooting but 12 rebounds. Is the job for Vesely to lose? 3). Why did Wittman stick with his starters, particularly Nene, so long?
Up next: The Wizards flew to Brazil after the game, where they'll play Saturday vs. the Chicago Bulls in their second preseason game (NBATV, 5 p.m. ET). They'll practice here Monday before taking on the Miami Heat at Verizon Center on Oct. 15 (NBATV,7).
From the locker room: "The second unit in the second quarter struggled a little bit to find a rhythm. I think we scored five or six points in the first seven minutes of the quarter. We ended up knotting them at 20 at the quarter break, but a lot of guys were playing with each other for the first time in that second unit." -- Wittman
"We did a lot of things that we should have been doing and things that we could have done a lot better. Of course, that's what exhibitions are for but like Witt told us earlier we have to use these games to show teams that we can play. No matter how many minutes we play as starters or if you're coming off the bench you have to play hard every minute and don't take any of these games for granted." -- Beal
"I felt great. I just got up to stretch a couple times. But the guys, again, they've been working hard, and this was a demonstration of what they've been doing against each other to come out and play an opponent -- a very talented team in Washington -- and defensively hold them to under 40 percent." -- Nets coach Jason Kidd, who coached his first NBA game.