Wizards ease to win in preseason opener

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The Wizards hosted the Guangzhou Long-Lions on Monday night to tip off the 2017-18 preseason. Led by Jodie Meeks’ 19 points in the first half, Washington handled the Long-Lions from start to finish, winning 126-96.

Jodie Meeks lights it up in the first half

One of the Wizards’ top priorities this offseason was to find a consistent scorer off the bench. On Monday, Jodie Meeks showed why the Wizards like his fit in their system, scoring 19 points in the first half on 7-for-9 shooting including 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. Meeks was scoring at will in his 16-plus minutes in the opening half, looking like the offseason pick-up the Wizards were hoping for. He did not play in the second half, giving Sheldon Mac an opportunity.

“He gives us a knock-down shooter off the bench,” Scott Brooks said postgame. “He’s a 40 percent three-point shooter… Plus 40 percent three-point shooter the way he shoots. With our playmaking guards I think he can get a lot of open shots. That’s why we brought him in and it showed tonight. He does a good job of moving without the basketball. He’s a veteran player. He just kind of knows where to be. When John [Wall] is with him, John is going to find him a lot of shots [and] Brad [Beal] can find him a lot of shots tonight. He did a good job of moving without the ball and getting open.”

Satoransky, Oubre, and Mac shine in increased roles 

John Wall did not play on Monday to rest up, while Tim Frazier did not play due to a groin injury. Tomas Satoransky was given the start and played well as the team’s distributor, scoring 13 points to go with his five assists in 25 minutes of action. Kelly Oubre Jr. played a team-high 26 minutes, as he finished with 10 points and three assists. Oubre had a strong defensive night and was making the extra pass and getting to the free throw line, two things the Wizards want to see out of him. With Meeks sitting out the second half, Mac scored 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He also dished out six assists in his 23 minutes and showed once again why he’s an NBA-level player.  

“It was good. I knew from today’s shoot around that I was going to start,” Satoransky said postgame. “I was ready for that after one season, getting more experience. It was our first game and there are a lot of things we need to improve. I think I felt pretty well there.”

Search for Morris’ replacement continues 

Jason Smith started at the four-position on Monday, giving a look at who Scott Brooks likes at the position right now to replace the injured Markieff Morris. Smith made five of his nine shot attempts and finished with 12 points, five rebounds, and two blocks in 16 minutes. Chris McCullough gave the Wizards 10 points, seven rebounds, and three blocked shots in his 19 minutes, building off his strong training camp. Mike Scott started the second half at the four-position as Smith moved to the five. Scott would total six points on 3-of-6 shooting and ran the floor well in his role.

“His athleticism is high level. He plays above the rim. He’s still going to have to get a little stronger with his body to play through the physicality of the games,” Brooks said of McCullough. “I like how he competes and I thought he had a solid game tonight. He made a jump shot, he missed one, he got some lobs right at the basket. He’s another long, athletic player we think we can continue to work with him. It’s going to be hard to get minutes, we have a lot of guys at that spot, but you never know. He just has to keep working and be ready.”

Beal, Porter play limited minutes

Scott Brooks said before the game that Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. would play limited minutes. Beal played seven-plus minutes, scoring six points on 3-of-5 shooting and grabbing three rebounds. Beal looked smooth on the court and built off a strong training camp. Porter  scored three points to go along with four rebounds and two assists in 13-plus minutes.

Next up, the Wizards will host the New York Knicks on Friday night at 7:00pm at Capital One Arena as the preseason continues. 

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