The Washington Wizards beat the Guangzhou Long-Lions 126-96 in their first preseason game on Monday night at Capital One Arena.
How it happened: Even without their top two point guards, one of them John Wall, and even without their starting power forward, the Wizards had no trouble with China's Guangzhou Long-Lions in the first game of their five-game preseason schedule.
Tomas Satoransky started at point guard and attacked the rim at will. Either he's gained some newfound confidence after a summer as the man on his Czech national team, or he was simply taking advantage of lesser competition. The same could be said about Kelly Oubre, Jr., who was more aggressive off the dribble than normal, even getting assists on drive-and-dish plays, which aren't typically in his repertoire. Regardless of the opponent, they looked good and so did backup shooting guard Jodie Meeks, who got anything he wanted on the offensive end of the floor.
The Wizards' regular starters didn't see the floor much. Wall sat the game out entirely to rest. Bradley Beal played just 7:37 before calling it a night. Marcin Gortat scored six points and grabbed five rebounds in 15:02 before retiring to the bench. Otto Porter had three points and four rebounds in 13:33.
Ian Mahinmi moved well after an offseason of slimming down. He was active on the boards and dominated the paint when he was on the floor.
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What it means: Nothing. Well, almost nothing. This was the first time the 2017-18 Wizards matched up with a team outside of intrasquad scrimmages. It gave head coach Scott Brooks the chance to test out some lineups. But given the opponent was a team from China, it's hard to clean too much from the results.
Meeks was instant offense: The Long-Lions had no answer for Meeks, who had about as good a Wizards debut as one could ask for. He showed no hesitation with a quick release and first step, relying on his three-point shot and floaters to rack up 19 points in 16:23 by halftime. He hit 4-of-5 threes in the first half and swished a floater from beyond the free throw line to end the first quarter. Health is the biggest concern for him, as he averaged 33 games the past three seasons due to various injuries. For one night, he looked exactly like the Wizards want him to look: quick and assertive with the ball.
The replacements: The most important objective for the Wizards this preseason is figuring out how to sub for Markieff Morris while he is out recovering from sports hernia surgery. Jason Smith got the start alongside Gortat at the four and immediately knocked down a three. He also had a nice block on Tyler Hansbrough, the one recognizable name on the Long-Lions.
Chris McCullough (14 points) showed flashes, going above the rim to snatch rebounds and throw down dunks. He came to life offensively in the fourth quarter, with a 20-foot jumper and a pair of two-handed dunks assisted by Sheldon Mac. He later powered home an alley-oop set up by Donald Sloan. McCullough also gambled and lost on defense on a few plays, but overall had a nice night.
Mike Scott didn't play at all in the first half. He then started the second half and had some moments, including a nice dish to Mac for an open three in the third quarter. Scott had six points of his own in the third quarter.
Mac made some noise: Speaking of Mac, he had a nice night overall with 13 points. After not playing at all in the first half, he was a focus of their offense in the second half. He got into the lane with easy, finishing once with a wide open, two-handed slam. Mac looked comfortable firing from long range and handling the ball. His roster spot could be threatened by Sloan and Carrick Felix, so it was an encouraging start for Mac, who finished with 13 points. Mac also pulled off an impressive feat: he fouled out despite not playing in the first two quarters.
Up next: The Wizards play their first preseason game against an NBA team on Friday night, again at home. They will host Kristaps Porzingis and the New York Knicks.