Wizards lose Porter, win behind Vesely

Wizards lose Porter, win behind Vesely
July 16, 2013, 11:45 pm
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Porter continuing to develop in Summer League play

LAS VEGAS –- In the third game of summer league play for the Wizards, they finally put on a complete performance to win for the first time, 97-69 vs. the Denver Nuggets, and did it mostly without Otto Porter.

The top rookie performing at the NBA summer league here –- No. 1 Anthony Bennett (Cleveland Cavaliers) is recovering from shoulder surgery and No. 2 Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic) played at Orlando’s summer league –- Porter went 2-for-4 in the first quarter for four points but had to leave because of tightness in his right hamstring.

CSN Washington first reported Monday that Porter was having issues with his leg when he didn't scrimmage against the Toronto Raptors. Porter practiced for an hour with the team Tuesday morning and told CSN he would start and be OK.

Well, the first half of that statement proved to be true. His absence meant more time for Glen Rice who played 24 minutes. 

"They didn't want anything serious to happen so they just pulled me out," Porter said. "Just the quickness (of the game), I started to feel it."

The Wizards were offensively inept in scoring just 52 points in an opening loss to the Golden State Warriors and their defense was bullied inside as they gave up 82 points in a loss to the New York Knicks in the first two games of summer league play.

Tuesday, behind Jan Vesely who led all scorers with 18 points on 9-for-11 shooting, the Wizards played efficiently and with pace, moving the ball (22 assists), getting chip shots at the rim (38-for-71 shooting, 53.5%) and forcing turnovers (22).

The Wizards will play at least two more games as tournament play begins. Teams are re-seeded for games starting Wednesday. The Wizards will play the Memphis Grizzlies at Thomas & Mack Center at 6:30 p.m. ET.

It seems unlikely that Porter will play in the next game, if at all, as a precaution. The Wizards don't want to go into training camp banged up the way they were last season when they won just 29 games. 

Rookie woes: Porter made layups and appeared to be off to a good start until his injury. Rice began 2-for-8 in the first half and missed a few easy buckets, but his as his minutes increased without Porter he got better. He attacked Evan Fournier off the dribble and scored at will at times. Rice finished 6-for-12 shooting for 13 points, his summer league-high.

Haynes watch: Free agent Marquez Haynes has been drawing interest from teams because of his play. He led the Wizards with 13 points in their previous game when he started over Sundiata Gaines who has a calf injury. Haynes opened the Wizards’ scoring with a three-pointer. He also harassed the Nuggets by disrupting the ball. Haynes had nine points even though he shot just 2-for-7, six assists and two steals. 

Forwards, march: Assistant coach Sam Cassell was insistent that forwards Chris Singleton and Vesely, players who are entering their third year and the most NBA experienced on the roster, to lead the charge. Vesely entered shooting 7-for-21 in two games, with 17 rebounds and eight turnovers.  Singleton was 6-for-18 shooting with nine rebounds, four blocks and six turnovers.  Singleton started slow as he kept coming up short even on clean looks in the paint. He missed three of his first four but played well in combo with Vesely by setting him up with interior passes. Singleton had only four points on 2-for-6 shooting, but added 10 rebounds and five assists. And the duo only combined for three turnovers.

Better late: Free agent guard Lorne Jackson of Pepperdine had been the only player on the roster who hadn't seen action in the first two games. He was able to get on the court for this time in the second quarter. He missed all five shot attempts and scored his only point on a free throw. Sundiata Gaines, who had right calf tightness that kept him out of consecutive practices, did not play.