Since the Wizards preseason opener against the Bobcats was not televised locally, those of us who didn’t make the trip to Charlotte for Sunday’s game had to rely on the box score and the post game comments to try and assess the team’s performance.
Before the team left town, we asked coach Randy Wittman the number one thing to look for in the box score. He didn’t hesitate – turnovers. In the Wizards 100-88 loss to the Bobcats, they had 20.
“If we take away half of Trevor Ariza’s six turnovers we would have been at 16 or 17,” Wittman said. “It’s not going to be something that we see regularly from him, but if we are going to push the ball, the 16 or 17 total is more where we need to be at.”
Of course the Bobcats didn’t hold into the ball any better – they had 21. It was the first preseason game for both teams.
“We played hard but looked a little nervous, first game jitters, I think,” Wittman said. They [the Bobcats] have a different coach and different team. We didn’t spend any time on a full-court press. We were unable to get into a flow because of our foul situation.”
Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton each had five; Bradley Beal and Shelvin Mack each had four. There was a huge overall disparity at the foul line: The Wizards connected on 16 of 21 while the Bobcats hit 31 of 46.
“We have talked about this since camp - we have to stop being outshot from the free-throw line,” Wittman said. “Today was a prime example. Today’s game gives us a baseline to work with.”
Bradley Beal (18) and Martell Webster (18) led the Wizards in scoring, Singleton in rebounds (9) and Mack in assists (7).
Beal approached his first game in the NBA with an almost unflappable calm.
“I thought he came in and did okay,” Wittman said of his rookie shooting guard. “He has to learn when to pass the ball out of pressure and not back the ball out to half court. It is going to be a learning process for him.”
Martell Webster says it’s a going to be a learning process for everyone.
“It’s going to take a lot of studying, watching film and getting in the lab with the coaches and really understanding the offense,” Webster said.
“It’s one thing to see X’s and O’s on a piece of paper, but when you go out and execute and you see teams running different defensive schemes, you can be exposed. Really understanding how our offense is run is going to be crucial for us.”
The Wizards next preseason game is Thursday against the New York Knicks at Verizon Center – the team’s only home preseason game.
Postgame quotes courtesy of the Charlotte Bobcats Media Relations Department.