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Morning tip: Rough first outing for Kelly Oubre

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Morning tip: Rough first outing for Kelly Oubre

The last shot attempt Kelly Oubre took, his seventh, ended like all of the rest Friday. It clanged off the rim and the rookie failed to register a point in his first appearance in a preseason game. Still, the confidence isn't going anywhere anytime soon. 

"It actually felt good to get out there and play with the official jersey on my back," said Oubre, 19, who sat out the preseason opener because of a sore right ankle but played 25 minutes vs. the New York Knicks. "That was a slow start but we have, what, 100 more? I'm cool. We had a little fall today but it's cool.

"I went 0-for-7. Nothing went. I'm cool. I got my jitters out the way." 

The toughest part for any rookie, especially one with only one year of college, is getting used to the style of play. 

"The pace, running up and down trying to make sure all my mechanics were tight, that was one of the toughest things for me," Oubre said. "I'm confident. I'm not down. It was a good learning experience."

That's exactly what John Wall's take was on what made it so difficult for Oubre, who the Wizards traded up to get in June in a deal with the Atlanta Hawks. He was chosen 15th overall.

"He'll be alright. First game trying to get in the flow with the second unit. ... It's all about getting committed to play at this type of game speed. Practice is totally different than when you're competing against somebody else," Wall said. "I think he learned that tonight. It's going to be an up and down year for him but that's what we're here for to talk to him as veterans and trying to get him through the tough process."

Derrick Williams exploded for a game-high 23 points for New York, which won 115-104. Oubre took responsibility for his part in helping him break out.

"We made some mental errors, myself included. I let D-Will get backdoor on that lob," Oubre said. "He set me up for that one. That doesn't happen. That can't happen in a game for us to be an elite defending team so we have to hone in on defense and make sure that's a main priority."

While Wittman was tough on his team for its overall lack of defensive commitment and he could be seen chewing out Oubre after a blown rotation, he's not reading too much into a game that doesn't count. 

"Typical, first game rookie jitters. I think his body was way ahead of his mind tonight, which happens," Wittman said. "I'm glad for him that he got that first game out of the way and let's see where he comes back."

MORE WIZARDS: Wizards' offense stalls, defense non-existent in defeat

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Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

The Wizards will catch a break on Saturday night when they host the Toronto Raptors in the second game of their regular season, as Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard is being held out due to rest.

Leonard, who has been dominant so far for the 2-0 Raptors, is being limited in back-to-backs after he missed 73 games last season due to a quadriceps injury. The Raptors played the night before against the Celtics.

With Leonard out, the Raptors will likely rely on C.J. Miles and O.G. Anunoby at the small forward position. Shooting guard Delon Wright is also out with a shoulder injury.

Though Leonard and Wright are out of the mix, Toronto still has plenty of talent including All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry is averaging 21 points, seven assists and 3.5 rebounds through two games. 

Serge Ibaka has been their third-leading scorer with 15 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds. They also acquired Danny Green in the Leonard deal and he's off to a strong start with 12.5 points and five rebounds per game.

Leonard's absence may be noticed more on the defensive end, as he is one of the best in the NBA on the perimeter. That could make things a bit easier for Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr.

The Wizards and Raptors next play on Nov. 23. That game is in Toronto.

 

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Three things to watch for in Wizards' first matchup with Raptors

Three things to watch for in Wizards' first matchup with Raptors

John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

Here are three things to watch...

Will Howard play?

Once again, we await word from head coach Scott Brooks on the status of Dwight Howard. Howard, who missed all of the Wizards' preseason with a piriformis injury, was a gametime decision for the opener on Thursday. He ended up not playing, but appeared very close to finally making his debut.

Saturday night could be a different story, though we won't know until shortly before gametime. The Wizards' training staff will evaluate him pregame and make the call. If he can't go, Ian Mahinmi will get the nod as starter like he did against Miami.

Need more Otto

Though it wasn't the reason why the Wizards lost to the Heat, it certainly stood out in the box score how Otto Porter Jr. went without a three-point attempt in the opener. Porter finished third in three-point percentage last season with a 44.1 clip. He simply has to be more involved in the offense.

It will be interesting to see what adjustment the Wizards make to create more opportunities for Porter, and how Porter responds. All parties involved insist it is a mix of several factors, including a need for Porter to simply be more aggressive. That won't be easy against a tough Raptors defense, but expect Porter to get up plenty of threes in this one.

Leonard is out

This game was set to be the first matchup between the Wizards and the revamped Raptors, who added perennial All-NBA selection Kawhi Leonard in the biggest trade of the offseason. But it turns out, Leonard will not play.

Toronto is resting Leonard, who played in only nine games all of last season due to a quadriceps injury. It's understandable, given the Raptors played the night before against the tough Boston Celtics.

With Leonard out, All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry will be a big focus. They also got guard Danny Green in the Leonard deal and he's off to an excellent start. He's averaging 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals while shooting 50 percent from three so far. Getting him in the trade was a very underrated move by Toronto.

 

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