Wizards Vs. Magic: John Wall's NBA Debut One To Forget As Wizards Fall To Magic 112-83

A new era of Wizards basketball started tonight in Washington, but it looked like the Washington of old. The Wizards lost 112-83 in their worst season opening defeat ever.

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Wizards Vs. Magic: What Went Wrong? Everything.

The Washington Wizards didn't just  out of the gate. They tripped, fell and rolled around for several hours in a 112-83 loss to the Orlando Magic. It was the worst season-opening loss in team history. Bullets Forever did a recap of their own and it was so spot on, I had to extrapolate on it.

 

  • "The lone bright spot was Cartier Martin, who looks like he gets how to move without the ball.  He's the only guy on the team that looked like he knew where he was supposed to be on both ends of the floor. "

 

Martin led the Wizards with 17 points off of the bench and has already solidified his role as Washington's sixth man. Perhaps he can sneak into the starting lineup (I'm looking at you, Al Thornton).

 

  • Al Thornton played fairly well, but as long as he can't shoot from the outside, he's hurting the team because people can just cheat off Wall. 

 

Speaking of Thornton, he didn't play poorly, but like his teammates, he couldn't shoot. Thornton's game is in slashing to the paint (he even had a ferocious "And 1" dunk). But if he can't produce from the outside, his play will be detrimental to the team.

One more noteworthy fact. SB Nation DC's own Jake Whitacre provided this statistic:

Last season, John Wall lost three games by a combined 22 points.  

Wall better get used to that.

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Wizards Vs. Magic: John Wall's Debut One To Forget As The Wizards Fall To Magic 112-83

John Wall and the Washington Wizards started their season down the road from the "Most Magical Place On Earth." Unfortunately for the Wizards, Wall's NBA debut was anything but as they fell to the Orlando Magic 112-83 in the Wizards' most lopsided opening night loss in team history.

Wall, the No. 1 draft pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, finished with 14 points on 6-of-19 shooting, nine assists, three steals and three turnovers in 35 minutes of action. Despite the near double-double, the former University of Kentucky star struggled to find a groove in any aspect of his game, which the Wizards as a whole duplicated. Washington shot 37.2% from the field and trailed by double digits from the first quarter on.

Cartier Martin led the Wizards with 17 points off of the bench and was Washington's lone bright spot. Kirk Hinrich fleshed out the double-digit scorers with 12 points of his own. Andray Blatche epitomized the Wizards' performance; Blatche shot 2-of-9, forced every shot he took and struggled with Orlando's defense.

Speaking of the Magic, everything went right for Orlando, who christened the new Amway Center in style. Four players scored in double figures, led by Dwight Howard's 23 points and 10 rebounds. Howard could have had more points if he hit more free throws; Howard went 9-of-19 from the free throw line. Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter also scored in double figures. 

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Wizards Vs. Magic: Not Even John Wall Can Save The Wizards, Who Trail 90-59

The halftime intermission did nothing to help the Wizards' game. John Wall has four points since the first quarter and the Wizards trail the Magic 90-59 at the end of the third quarter. 

  • John Wall Watch: 10 points on 5-of-17 shooting, nine assists, three steals and three turnovers in 30 minutes. Wall was silent on the points side of the scoresheet until the end of the quarter, where he hit a jumper and put in a slam dunk after a rebound. Wall spent most of the quarter sharing the wealth, including two nice passes in transition to set up Kirk Hinrich for two consecutive three-pointers. 
  • The TNT analysts questioned the Wizards' shot selection and rightfully so. Washington is shooting 23-63 from the field. The analysts also called out Andray Blatche, Gilbert Arenas and Nick Young in particular, calling their shot selection throughout their careers "disheartening" to their teammates. Blatche is 2-for-9 from the field and is forcing every shot. 


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Wizards Vs. Magic: John Wall Takes A Breather, Magic Lead 58-34 At Halftime

John Wall took most of the second quarter off, which didn't help the Wizards. The Magic extended their lead to 58-34 at the break. Here are some second quarter bullet (no pun intended) points:

  • John Wall Watch: Six points on 3-of-13 shooting, four assists, two steals and one turnover in 18 minutes. Wall went cold in the second quarter, but spent most of it on the bench. Dwight Howard blocked Wall's layup attempt late in the quarter; Wall will need to learn how to work his way around NBA centers.
  • The rest of the Wizards are not doing much to help Wall. Despite Al Thornton and JaVale McGee leading the team with seven points each, the Wizards are shooting 14-43 from the field (32.6%). The defense is not functioning, either. The Magic have 32 points in the paint and have outscored the Wizards 12-3 on second chance points. 
  • Not all is lost. The Wizards hit seven out of their last 14 shots after missing 22 of their first 29.
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Wizards Vs. Magic: John Wall Leads Wizards With Six Points, But Magic Lead Wizards 29-15 After First Quarter

John Wall's NBA debut is off to a quick start. Unfortunately for the Wizards, their season is not. The Magic lead the Wizards 29-15 after one quarter. Here are some quick thoughts:

  • John Wall Watch: Six points on 3-of-8 shooting, two assists and one turnover. While Blake Griffin's first NBA basket was an alley-oop dunk, Wall's will go in the history books as a goaltending call on Dwight Howard. Wall showed flashes of brilliance, especially on a coast-to-coast layup in traffic. Wall took some questionable jump shots, but overall, he looked solid in his first quarter of NBA action.
  • Andray Blatche has been handcuffed by Orlando's defense. Blatche was 0-4 from the field and the Wizards are shooting 6-22 through the beginning of the second quarter. 
  • The Wizards have absolutely no interior defense. Almost all of Orlando's baskets came in the paint on offensive rebounds and uncontested layups. 
  • The Wizards are playing undisciplined basketball.The score could be worse if the Magic could hit free throws. Orlando went 5-for-11 from the free throw line. 
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Wizards Vs. Magic: John Wall Makes His NBA Debut Tonight In Orlando

A new era of basketball in Washington starts tonight, but first, it must start in Orlando. No. 1 draft pick John Wall and the Wizards open their season against Dwight Howard and the Magic in what will be Wall's NBA debut.

The Wizards finished last season 26-56 and entered the NBA Draft Lottery for the 14th time in team history since the lottery began in 1985. With just over a 10 percent chance to claim the top draft pick, the Wizards did just that for the third time in team history (1961, 2001).

Unlike Kwame Brown's selection nine years ago, Washington hit it big by selecting the overwhelming favorite to go first. Wall starred in his only season at the University of Kentucky, averaging 16.6 points and 6.5 assists per game, earning him First Team All-American honors among many other distinctions. On draft day, Wall and four of his teammates were selected in the first round, making it the only time in NBA history that five players from the same team were selected in the first round.

Wall was not the only big change to take place within the Wizards organization. Ted Leonsis, majority owner of the NHL's Washington Capitals, acquired the Wizards in March after the death of former team owner Abe Pollin in November 2009. Leonsis has implemented a similar rebuilding plan to the one he mastered with the Capitals. Several of the Wizards' biggest contributors, including Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, were traded and key role players were brought in. Also gone are Mike Miller and Randy Foye and in their place came Josh Howard, Al Thornton, Kirk Hinrich and Yi Jianlian to complete a core group that includes Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee.

Meanwhile, the Magic enter the season relatively unscathed. Orlando (59-23 in 2009) lost journeyman/swingman Matt Barnes, but brought in fellow journeyman Quentin Richardson and guard Chris Duhon. The Magic have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals the past two seasons and the NBA Finals in 2008-09, falling to the Los Angeles Lakers. Howard has averaged a double-double in points and rebounds throughout his six year career and will look to add to that in a highly-competitive Southeast Division that features the Wizards, the new-look Miami Heat and the burgeoning Atlanta Hawks.

The Magic will open a new arena tonight, the Amway Center, but the Wizards will be without their Arenas. Gilbert Arenas will miss the Wizards' first two games of the season with a strained tendon in his right ankle. After being suspended for the final 50 games of last season after a gun incident involving former Wizard Javaris Crittenton, Arenas will have to wait to play his first regular season NBA game since March. 

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