Washington Wizards display fast pace in opener; 3 takeaways

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Washington Wizards
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

In their 2019-20 opener, the Washington Wizards displayed uptempo offense. The team has ample room for improvement in defense and 3-point accuracy.

Starting the new NBA season on the road, the Washington Wizards fell short of completing a comeback against the Dallas Mavericks, losing 108-100 on Wednesday night. The Wizards led by one at the end of the first quarter, but the team’s overall lack of experience and defensive lapses resulted in 38 second-quarter points scored by the Mavericks.

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From the second quarter on, Dallas never trailed. Reigning Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic exploited the Wizards’ porous defense, finishing the game with 34 points, one shy of his career-high. In his Mavericks debut, Kristaps Porzingis gathered four rebounds, scored 23 points, and converted three 3-point attempts.

Though the result seems to show that this was a close game, Dallas led the Wizards by as many as 23 points. Washington fought back midway through the fourth quarter, going on a 14-5 run spurred by shooting guard Bradley Beal, reducing the Wizards’ deficit to single digits with under three minutes left in the game.

This offensive spark for the Wiz changed in the final frame when officials called double-technical fouls on Beal and Doncic. Shortly after, Beal was ejected, having picked up another technical earlier in the game.

Though they lost in their first matchup of the season, Washington competed and found their way back into the game. They also controlled the offensive glass, collecting 11 rebounds on offense compared to the Mavericks’ five.

With a roster including nine players who are 23 or younger, the Wizards likely will have room for improvement, and young players will need to quickly develop their skills throughout the season. Coach Scott Brooks indicated this in a Washington Post article published after the game.

"“We’re throwing a lot of guys who haven’t played in the NBA and haven’t played a lot of minutes in the NBA. At times there might be some surprising moments, and hopefully it’s surprising on the good side of it.”"

As the team’s young players continue to develop their abilities and gain NBA experience, the Wizards hopefully will be able to string together wins. Withstanding their loss, it’s important to understand what adjustments the Wizards must make going forward from Game 1 of their 2019-20 campaign.