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Wall, Wizards unimpressive in season debut

October 28, 2010

The Orlando Magic was probably the worst possible matchup for the Washington Wizards Thursday night in both teams’ season opener.

The Magic used its depth and experience to defeat a relatively young and inexperienced Wizards team 112-83 in Orlando. The Magic starters shot 69 percent from the field, led by Dwight Howard’s 7-for-9 night and Jameer Nelson’s 6-for-8 night. Vince Carter put in eight shots on 12 attempts for 18 points.

First overall pick John Wall made six of 19 shots, good for 14 points, and he also assisted on nine shots. Wall was very inconsistent all night, making only three of his first 10 shots, including clanking several uncontested 21-footers.

Wall used his lightning-quick speed to penetrate the Orlando defense several times but usually to no success. Several times he lost control of the ball in traffic under the basket; other times he kicked out to an open shooter but the shot was unsuccessful, or the shooter wouldn’t want to challenge Orlando’s Howard, who blocked three shots and collected 10 rebounds on the night.

The Magic, on the other hand, used penetration all night long to build its 30-point lead for most of the game. Nelson, Carter, JJ Redick, Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson all slashed into the paint multiple times for dunks and layups, taking advantage of a weak defensive effort by the Wizards. The Magic scored 56 points in the paint.

Even though it wasn’t that good a first impression for Wall, I’d say the Wizards are happy with the point guard’s peformance tonight. Had it not been for several missed wide-open shots Wall would’ve easily had double-digit assists. He only turned the ball over three times and played relatively good defense, sometimes forgetting to rotate after a screen or on a drive, but he moved his feet quickly and was able to shut off several Nelson drives during the course of the game.

But boy, I was wrong on the Wizards. The Magic are a great team, but the Wizards are just plain bad. Maybe getting Josh Howard and Gilbert Arenas back will help, but their bench is going to be one of the worst in the league. They plan on playing Kirk Hinrick at small forward; tell me, how is he supposed to guard LeBron James? Paul Pierce? I don’t see it happening.

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From → NBA

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