The Washington Wizards lost to the Sacramento Kings 116-112 on Friday night. Here are five observations from the game...
Yikes: This is technically a new season, yet the Wizards look a whole lot like the 2017-18 version of them so far through five games.
They dropped to 1-4 on the year on Friday night and lost in a very familiar way. This one included poor execution on late game plays and an inability to get stops. And this defeat came against a team, Sacramento, that is very likely to miss the postseason this year.
After playing four good teams to start the season, this was supposed to be the game where their schedule started to soften. Yet, they couldn't take advantage. Why write a new story when you can just copy and paste?
Beal banged up: The Wizards got two pieces of positive injury news on Friday with Ian Mahinmi getting cleared to return from back spasms and Bradley Beal getting the go-ahead as a gametime decision despite dealing with a chest contusion. Beal missed shootaround after suffering the injury in Wednesday's loss to the Warriors and was nearly held out of this one.
Though Beal played, he wasn't himself. He shot 31.6 percent (6-for-19) for the game. At halftime, he was 2-for-12 from the field and 1-for-8 from three.
Already with a chest issue, Beal took a hard fall in the second quarter and banged his head on a camera held by a photographer sitting on the baseline. It was an unlucky fall and it was clearly very painful.
With Dwight Howard already out, the Wizards can ill-afford another key player to get injured. Beal is obviously very important to their success.
He had 21 points and five rebounds, but also five turnovers. Two of his giveaways were just careless mistakes that came in the closing minutes. He simply lost control of the ball. You don't see unforced errors like that from him very often.
Oubre remains hot: For the third straight game, Kelly Oubre Jr. came off the Wizards' bench and immediately made an impact offensively. In this one, he popped off for 11 points in his first eight minutes, knocking down three of his first four threes.
Oubre ended up with 22 points, nine rebounds a steal and a block. He tied a career-high with five threes. He just continues to ooze confidence on the offensive end.
Oubre caught fire in the first half and then again in the second half. On one play, he used a behind-the-back move to get past Justin Jackson and finish through contact for an and-one. Minutes later, he beat the buzzer to end the third quarter with a pull-up three from halfcourt.
Oubre looked lost in the preseason and got off to a brief slow start to begin the regular season. But now he's rolling and, at the moment, looking like a guy who is raising his stock in a contract year.
Oubre, though, ended up committing a bad turnover late in the fourth quarter. He was closed out on the baseline, yet decided to drive in that direction and it was easily stolen. Though Oubre continues to show promise, he has trouble putting together complete games.
Porter was off: While Oubre had it going, Otto Porter Jr. was off in just about every aspect of the game. He is off to a slow start offensively this season and that continued in this one, as he scored just five points on 2-for-6 shooting.
What was most bizarre was the fact Porter didn't do much of anything else in his 21 minutes of play. Usually, Porter will fill the box score in other ways and often end up with a better +/- than the rest of the starters.
That was not the case tonight and clearly head coach Scott Brooks thought he didn't have it on this particular night. Brooks yanked Porter quickly in the fourth quarter after he committed a travel.
Wall keeps getting to the line: John Wall has for years complained that he doesn't get the calls he deserves, that he doesn't get the same treatment as other stars. So far this season, he has had nothing to gripe about.
This season, he's collecting free throw attempts like they are designer sunglasses. He went 7-for-8 from the line on Friday and is now averaging 9.2 free throw attempts through five games.
That average would rank near the top of the league in any year and it's something Wall has long been capable of. He can get to the rim as well as just about anyone in the NBA and has the strength to finish through contact. The refs are calling games a little tighter this season, so maybe Wall can use that to his advantage.
In addition to 26 points and eight assists, Wall also had three blocks and three steals. It was the eighth time in his career he's done that.
The negatives for Wall continue to be with his shooting. He is now 3-for-23 to start the year from long range.
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
- Take Notes: Unwritten rulebook of an NBA locker room
- A fine is fine: NBA fines Markieff for pulling shorts
- Big-Time: Survey says Wizards are NBA's tallest, heaviest team