“You are the best fans in the NBA.” Words from John Wall, speaking to a less-than-full Verizon Center just moments before the season opener in Washington, D.C., in which the Washington Wizards were upset by a team hot off of beating the Miami Heat, the Philadelphia 76ers.
If the crowd wasn’t deflated enough, the starting lineups did not add much fuel to the fire after Nene emerged in a suit. The Brazilian was a game-time decision after picking up a leg injury in Wednesday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons. Coach Randy Whitman utilized his latest acquisition, center Marcin “The Polish Hammer” Gortat, who managed 12 points and 7 rebounds.
The Wizards seemed to be coasting to victory, leading the 76ers by 10 points at halftime and as many as 13 in the third quarter. Philadelphia then outscored the Wizards 65-48 in the second half to overcome the deficit and win comfortably.
Wall came out firing on all cylinders from tip off after a rather disappointing performance in Wednesday’s loss against the Detroit Pistons. Wall made his first seven shots and seemed like a man possessed, totaling 23 points at halftime. However, he managed just three points after the break. It has now been revealed that the point guard suffered from back spasms during the game.
Bradley Beal, arguably the Wizards best player this preseason, struggled on the floor, hitting 4 of 18 for 10 points. The sophomore has now missed 26 of his 36 shots this season. An advantage of having such an exciting backcourt is that it appears the Wizards have another player to pick up the slack if a teammate is having an off night. Wizards fans must be relishing the night both Beal and Wall turn up with their shooting boots on.
Thaddeus Young was the standout player for the 76ers, going 14 of 20 for a game-high 29 points, with 8 rebounds and 2 assists. Fresh off flirting with a quadruple-double against Miami, rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams was solid, netting 14 points.
The Wizards now find themselves in the same position as they were last year, 0-2. With a game at the Miami Heat on Sunday evening followed by a home game against the Brooklyn Nets, one has to wonder how long Wizards fans will have to wait to see a new figure in the win column.