The Washington Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-94 in NBA preseason action on Sunday afternoon at Capital One Arena.
How it happened: The Cleveland Cavaliers decided to rest basically their entire rotation, not just LeBron James and Dwyane Wade but even their secondary players like J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert on Sunday afternoon. Those who paid the price of admission may have groused about it, but the goal in any preseason is to get out of it without injuries. On Sunday, the Wizards weren't as fortunate.
Second-year guard Sheldon Mac fell in a heap late in the second quarter after suffering a lower left leg injury. It could be something minor, it could be an ankle sprain, but this looked serious and required him to be carried off the court by trainers. Before he was lifted off the ground, the entire Wizards team surrounded him at midcourt as the crowd fell silent.
Mac will not receive many minutes for the Wizards this season, regardless of his health. But he is a key figure in one of the Wizards' biggest roster battles in preseason. He is fighting for a job with veterans like Carrick Felix and Donald Sloan and this throws a wrench into all of it. Felix (13 points, 4-6 FG) had another solid game and could be considered for a roster spot, especially if Mac's injury is serious.
As for the game itself, the Wizards had some unexpected trouble with a Cavaliers team comprised mostly of guys who won't see the floor this season. Offense, again, wasn't the issue. But the Wizards starters allowed 29 points in the first quarter and let this version of the Cavs go 3-for-5 from three. Their perimeter defense is something head coach Scott Brooks is aiming to correct this season.
What it means: The Wizards have played three preseason games and none of them have provided a true test worthy of a regular season warmup. We did, however, get to see some new lineups and may have learned more about the power forward competition.
Oubre started: After Brooks went with Jason Smith at power forward for the first three preseason games, Smith rested this one and Kelly Oubre, Jr. was inserted into the starting lineup. Otto Porter, Jr. was technically the four, though those two are mostly interchangeable. Oubre was even deployed to guard Kay Felder, the Cavs' point guard who is nearly a foot shorter than him. Oubre spent time checking Jarrett Jack against the Knicks on Friday and Brooks highlighted his ability to defend point guards before Sunday's game.
Porter continues to have a rough time shooting this preseason. He finished 1-for-4 from the field in 7:27 of play. Oubre was the only starter who saw significant time. John Wall (6 points, 7:27), Bradley Beal (11 points, 9:20) and Marcin Gortat (5 points, 10:18) all had short nights.
Mahinmi had a tough time: This wasn't Ian Mahinmi's best game. He had four rebounds and one point on a free throw, but also found himself on the wrong end of several Jeff Green dunks. Who knew Green could throw down like this?
Green did play a lot of games at Capital One Arena back when he was at Georgetown University. Perhaps that helped him turn back the clocks.
Three-guard lineup: Oubre certainly has a chance to take Markieff Morris' spot in the starting lineup, but in that case things get interesting on their bench. In this game Brooks decided to go with a three-guard lineup of Beal, Wall and Jodie Meeks once he subbed out Oubre, who picked up three fouls in his first 5:37 of play. Meeks had another good game, going 3-for-4 from three with 13 points. He's now 9-for-13 from three this preseason, by the way.
Brooks then kept Meeks on the floor with Tomas Satoransky and Sheldon Mac. Regardless of the choices, it seems like Brooks will have no choice but to go even smaller with his second unit than he will with his starters when he goes with Oubre and Porter together.
Up next: The Wizards move on to Miami for their fourth preseason game. That one is on Wednesday. They will see the Heat, who could be their biggest threats to repeating as division champions.
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