Wizards Game 1 Review: Pistons 113 – Wizards 102
IT WAS ALL OVER WHEN… Pistons reserve forward Kyle Singler made a 3-point play to stop a Wizards run that had cut the Detroit lead to four points, 89-85. Guard Chauncey “Big Shot” Billups made back-to-back 3-pointers and Josh Smith followed with another from long range, expanding a narrow Detroit fourth quarter lead up to 13 points, 100-87. The Wizards made a couple of runs after that, getting the margin into single digits a couple of times, but the deficit was too large and the time too short to complete a comeback. The Wizards have now lost seven in a row to the Pistons and 13 of their last 15.
THE GOOD… Trevor Ariza was terrific, hitting shots early and late, dominating the defensive boards and playing passing lanes all night.
The Wizards did a creditable job on the offensive boards themselves  and limiting Detroit’s second chances off the glass .
There was good effort from the Wizards, they never gave up on the game, even late in the fourth quarter when a successful comeback looked [and was] impossible.
Newly-acquired center Marcin Gortat looked lost, but lively. He scored 9 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in only 17 minutes. He’s obviously still learning a lot about how the Wizards play offense and defense, but his energy, athleticism and size were abundantly evident last night. He’s going to be very valuable for the Wizards this year, assuming he stays healthy.
THE BAD… Washington’s interior defense missed Emeka Okafor last night, as Pistons big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond dominated the paint to the tune of 24/16 for Monroe and 12/8 for Drummond.
The Wizards lost the rebounding battle 44-38 and Washington’s starting PF and C — Trevor Booker and Nene — and only 8 rebounds compared to the 24 from Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
Washington wasn’t killed by Detroit’s outside shooting; the Pistons shot only 9 of 24 [37.5%] on 3-pointers. That’s not bad, but not lethal either. And the Wiz shot 40% from long range. No, the problem was getting outscored, out-rebounded and out-hustled in the paint.
THE UGLY… Reserve forward Al Harrington was supposed to provide scoring punch off the bench, but he made only one of four shots and scored four points — the same number of fouls he committed last night. He had twice as many turnovers as made field goals.
MISSING IN ACTION… What happened to Martell Webster? The team’s leading 3-point shooter last year and a key cog in whatever success the team had scored only 5 points. Why? He took only one shot, a 3-pointer, and hit it. Then he added two free throws. So Webster didn’t miss a shot, but didn’t take enough of them. Webster needs to be more aggressive — especially when the starting backcourt could build a condo block with all the bricks they were chucking up — and his teammates need to do a better job of finding him.
Reserve big man Kevin Seraphin played only four minutes, hitting the only shot he put up. I know the Wizards want to play a lot of small ball this year, but on a night when they were getting slaughtered in the paint, perhaps a bit more size would have been a good idea.
THE STUDS… Trevor Ariza [8-14 FG, 6-11 3pFG, 28 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists] led the Wizards in scoring and rebounding. Really, just one stud on opening night.
THE DUDS… John Wall and Bradley Beal combined to shoot 14-39 from the field and 2-10 on 3pFG. The two guards who are supposed to lead the offense were instead offensive themselves, dooming any scoring efficiency with their horrific shooting. This is a continuation of Wall’s preseason shooting woes, but a new and hopefully short-lived development for Beal, who was one of the best players in the NBA during preseason.
& THE BENCHWARMERS… Jan Vesely and Glenn Rice, Jr. were both DNP-CD. The former I support heartily. Not sure why Rice didn’t get some burn considering the team’s shooting woes.