After falling short in their first two matches of the preseason, including their only home game on Thursday night, the Wizards traveled to Cleveland on Saturday night and finally hit the showers victorious, winning over the Cavs 99-95.
Coach Wittman told no lie when he said he’d be mix and matching his staring five until he found the right fit. He did just that on Saturday night, opting a lineup of Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, and Janerro Pargo over Jordan Crawford, Trevor Ariza, and AJ Price.
How did that fare you ask? Well let’s just say I’m sure Pargo has had a better 16 minutes in his career. Anytime you finish with more turnovers than points (6-3), it’s probably a forgettable night. His predecessors AJ Price and Shelvin Mack were a bit more productive, combining for 16 points and 0 turnovers. Pargo’s avid turnover habit (12 in 2 games) may help solidify Price and Mack as the primary replacements for John Wall.
Crawford coming off the bench didn’t seem to limit his playing time or shot attempts too much. He scored 14 points in 31 minutes and also had 7 dishes. Yes, SEVEN.
The injury pandemic continued to spread across the Wizards roster tonight. The latest victim: Kevin Seraphin. The uprising big man left the game in the first quarter with a calf strain which will sit him in the nurse’s office alongside Chris Singleton, Nene, Wall, Trevor Booker and Emaka Okafor. A frontcourt we often tout as the strength of this revamped lineup, now finds itself being chipped away with nagging injuries and setbacks. And Emeka, we’ll need you on a cracker and water diet for the rest of the preseason if you will, please and thank you.
Back to the okay stuff. In a performance one can only HOPE isn’t just another teaser, Jan Vesely went 5-5 from the field and looked pretty efficient on defense and on the boards.
Let’s talk about Bradley Beal. After the game against the Knicks, Janerro Pargo was quoted in the locker room that Beal had “poise beyond his years.” Well, The Real Deal displayed that exact poise tonight down the stretch, dropping a few last second free throws which sealed the game for the Wiz. The kid continued to impress, showing off his various strengths on the court, notably his court vision and his shooting. He finished with 14 points on 4-8 shooting.
And lastly, I think it’s fair that everyone’s favorite Wizard Brian Cook get a shout out. Cook shot the ball fairly well, banking 14 points including a late three in the final minute.
The Wizards will be off to Flatbush to face the Nets of Brooklyn, which will feature a reunion with their former captain, Andray Blatche.