New-look Wizards make Verizon debut

New-look Wizards make Verizon debut
October 11, 2012, 6:15 pm
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Wizards coach Randy Wittman doesn’t mind if you judge his team sometime in mid-December when he hopes to have a full squad.

Just don’t pass judgment tonight when the Wizards face the New York Knicks in their first and only home preseason game at Verizon Center. Asked what fans’ expectations should be for tonight’s game, Wittman asked for just a little patience.

“Just that we’re playing hard, we’re playing the right way,” he said. “That’s all fans want -- that you go out there and you give a good, honest effort and you play together as a team.

“If we can do those two things, win or lose, it’s not a concern. We still have a lot of people out. Guys have opportunities. We’ll see who steps up.”

The Wizards have been without star point guard John Wall [left knee] and forward Nene [left foot] since the start of training camp. They lost forward Trevor Booker to a strained left hamstring on Friday and just recently welcomed back veteran point guard Jannero Pargo from an abdominal strain.  

Booker said he’s close to returning to the lineup, but is not expected to be available tonight. He said the Wizards need to tighten up all areas of their game following Sunday’s 100-88 loss to the Bobcats in Charlotte in their preseason opener.

“The biggest thing from Game 1, transition defense,” Booker said. “We looked terrible at times. They had a lot of straight line drives in transition. And another thing is fouling. I think they shot 40-plus free throws in that game [46 to be exact]. I think that’s a crazy number.”

Following tonight’s contest the Wizards conclude their preseason schedule with six straight games on the road, visiting Cleveland, Brooklyn, Toronto, Milwaukee, Miami and San Antonio before beginning the regular season on the road in Cleveland on Oct. 30.

Five of the Wizards’ first seven games are on the road.

“We’re getting ready to go on the road forever,” Wittman said. “That’s good. We have a lot of road games in November. There’s a different mindset you need to have on the road.”