Highlights: Wizards beat Cavs to finish preseason
The Wizards walked off the court of their final preseason game in Cleveland on Wednesday. They won't don game-day uniforms again until this coming Wednesday in Detroit. That's essentially double the break compared to this point last year. Extra time or not, Randy Wittman isn't treating the scenario as extraordinary.
"Just like it would be if we had a little gap in the season," the Wizards coach said following Friday's practice session. "We'll practice here a couple of days, take a day off, practice a couple of days before we head [to Detroit]. Just focusing in these first couple of days on us, all our rules and stuff that we need to have engrained from a defense standpoint and work on our offensive executions."
Washington's longest stretch without games last season came following the Jan. 7 home matchup against Oklahoma City. After the last second, Monday night win over the Thunder, the Wizards did not play again until Saturday versus the Hawks. Of course, the Atlanta game also marked John Wall's season debut and that week ultimately proved to be the season's turning point.
After sluggish starts in each of the final two preseason games, Wittman's points of emphasis during these final days before the season are clear.
"[Offensive execution] and our energy, making sure it's always high," Wittman said. "We have to play with high energy. Active hands, active feet, flying around the floor defensively."
In Wednesday's 101-82 win over the Cavaliers, the Wizards scored just 41 points in the first half, but the offense and ball movement improved as the game progressed. Led by Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal, Washington ultimately drained 15 of 28 shots from beyond the 3-point arc. The Wizards finished with 29 assists on 40 field goals.
"We still do have to continue to execute. A lot of our bad shots are because of poor execution. It's not just some guy coming down to take a poor shot. It's because of poor execution that leads to a poor shot at the end of the shot clock a lot of times too."
Bradley Beal had little issue during the preseason when it came to sinking shots no matter the scenario. As for how the team can take advantage of this extended stretch without games, the second-year guard said, "Just getting our legs back and being mentally focused. We know it's 82 games the record starts now. We have to get off to a great start for one and be able to come off from the jump, get the ball rolling. Come out with some wins and at the beginning of the year get the fans behind us, get our confidence going and continue it throughout the season."