ATLANTA -- There are so many ifs after Thursday’s season-opening loss for the Wizards. If Bradley Beal didn’t get into early foul trouble. If John Wall had made those easy shots to start to get off on the right track. If Marcus Thornton hadn’t missed so many shots when they needed him to fill the void.
Let’s look at what they can build on despite falling apart in the fourth quarter of a 114-99 defeat:
- The Wizards stuck to their strategy of posting Wall and Beal on inbound plays. In the first half, both had Dennis Schroder under the rim, drew fouls and made it to the free-throw line as a result. That’s good for about four extra chances a game – possibly each – if they continue to look for it. Wall took seven foul shots in 30 minutes. Beal only had one but was restricted by foul trouble. He was on the floor for just 24.
- Markieff Morris made two three-point shots. He attempted 155 last season and only made 30.3%, but he looks like he'll set a career-high in both regards this season. He was 2 of 3 from long range.
- Otto Porter’s movement without the ball resulted in high-percentage looks in 26 minutes. He didn’t attempt a three, which isn’t the strength of his game. It’s the mid-range and moving off the ball (10 points, 5 of 7).
- Beal stayed true to the attack-mode principles he displayed in the preseason. He shot 6 of 12 and only two of those were missed threes. He had four assists and easily could’ve had double that if not for picking up his fourth foul early in the third quarter. As Beal's shot chart shows at stats.nba.com, five of his six makes can within five feet of the rim. He kept his dribble alive and relied on hesitation moves to force the action closer to the basket. Beal had one basket denied because of an offensive goaltending call as the ball hung on the rim.
- Andrew Nicholson looks like a reliable, steady option at the four/five spot. In 19 minutes he had nine points (3 of 6), seven rebounds, a steal and a block despite the difficulty the second unit had running the offense. He also made a three.
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