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Ready, Set, Go!

October 30, 2013

#WizPistons Gameday Blog

10:15 PM: Well the first one is in the books, and it did not go the Wizards way tonight.  Despite 28 points and 10 rebounds from Trevor Ariza, the Wizards dropped their opener to the Pistons in Detroit, 113-102. John Wall added his own double-double with 20 points and 11 assists and Bradley Beal chipped in 17 points.

7:00 PM: It's here!  Opening night is right in front of us now with just minutes until the 2013-14 season officially tips off!  There is an excitement in the air amongst the players and coaches, but also a sense of focus as they all know that now it counts.

In his pregame media availability, Randy Wittman indicated that he expected Marcin Gortat to see a lot of time , although he would not yet give away his starting lineup. 

The Pistons usually do a good job putting a show on for their fans, so we expect something special for opening night here at The Palace. 

Here is Witt's pregame interview:

  We're opening the Live Chat at 7:30, join in the conversation as the game unfolds!  Enjoy opening night!  #WizPistons

 2:00 PM: 
We're now just over five hours away from tip here in Detroit.  Shootaround is in the books and it's fair to say the guys are ready to get this season started.  We heard from Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat after shootaround this morning, who both exclaimed those sentiments and expressed excitement for the season. 

Gortat said he's feeling more comfortable with the play calls and has been embraced since arriving in DC just a few days ago.  He also said he'd like to get revenge on this Pistons team after they demolished his Suns squad last season.  Here is his full interview from shootaround:

Bradley Beal said that he's never seen a new player learn the plays faster than Gortat, which may be an indication that we could see Gortat start tonight's game or at least play significant minutes. He also touched on Game 6 of the World Series, where his Cardinals are facing elimination tonight in Boston. Here's his full interview:

And our own Casey Phillips talked with Nene for today's Courtside Report, who explained how he welcomed his new teammate to the team and discussed keys to tonight's game:

I'll be back with some pregame notes from the Palace before tip tonight and then will jump in the Live Chat around 7:30. See you there!

11:15 AM:
The team is just finishing up shootaround now at The Palace of Auburn Hills.  Everyone from the players to the coaches to the staff can sense that the season is here.  We're just about eight hours away from tip-off!  We'll have a new Fast Break, a Courtside Report, and some news and notes from shootaround coming later in the day.  Is it 7:30 yet?   

The day has finally come!  The pre-draft workouts, Summer League, mini-camp, training camp, practices, all led up to this.  The 2013-14 regular season is here!

The Wizards open their campaign in Detroit tonight against a Pistons team that, like the Wizards, have playoff aspirations in the Eastern Conference.

It's a fitting opener, because like the Wizards they too finished with just 29 wins last year. But after acquiring Josh Smith via free agency and trading for Brandon Jennings, have high hopes in 2013-14. 

Official #WizPistons Game Preview

Frontcourt -The Pistons are a team with one of the biggest front lines in the NBA (Smith - Greg Monroe - Andre Drummond), something the Wizards are more equipped to dealing with now that they have acquired veteran center Marcin Gortat in a deal with Phoenix. 

Head coach Randy Wittman would not indicate whether Gortat would start tonight, but did say he would play.  As the one true center on the team, it would come to no surprise to see Gortat log big minutes and play a key role in tonight's contest.   

Backcourt - With Brandon Jennings (tooth) and Rodney Stuckey (thumb) both sidelined, the Pistons could go two ways with their starting backcourt. One option is to go young and start the two rookies, Peyton Siva and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.  They could also turn back the clock and give the nod to veteran PG Chauncey Billups, who has returned to Detroit after playing there from 2002-2008.  Whoever they decide to start, we should see this trio along with Will Bynum get plenty of minutes tonight. 
On the flip side, there are no questions as to who the Wizards will send out at the starting guard spots as John Wall and Bradley Beal are locked and loaded for the regular season.  It's no secret that if the Wizards want to achieve their goals, they need their young backcourt to perform at a high level.  Tonight, they get their first chance of the season to show just how good they can be together.  

An interesting note, if Wall (23) and Beal (20) do get Siva (23) and Caldwell-Pope (20) to start, both of their counterparts would be of the same age.  Probably something we won't see for the rest of the year. 

Rotations - One thing to watch will be how the rotations end up shaking out for the Wizards, as that's something that's hard to tell during the preseason.  Wittman has indicated that he likes to use nine or ten guys in his rotation, so we'll see who gets the initial nod in the second unit. 

Broadcast Info - The game will be televised on CSN and can be heard on radio on 1500 AM or 106.7 FM. 

Live Chat - Be sure to join in the Live Chat on as I'll be chatting live courtside from The Palace of Auburn Hills starting at tip-off. 

More updates to come after shootaround.