The good news in this one was that Otto Porter made his long awaited NBA debut. The bad news was that the Wizards fell in OT to the Bucks, 109-105. The injury bug bit the already hurt Wizards hard in this one, as Martell Webster went down with a sprained ankle and Nene left with tendonitis in his right foot. The Wizards still almost overcame those injuries and a 13 point second half deficit to topple the Bucks but it was not to be. The Wizards led by five with 54 seconds to go but a Middleton jumper and a Knight three knotted the score. Singleton had a chance to win it at the end of regulation but his three rimmed out. In overtime, the Wizards could not muster anything as they managed just three Ariza free throws to fall by five. John Wall took over the game in the second half to pull the Wizards back into it, finishing with 30 points, eight assists and three big rejections. Trevor Ariza grabbed a double-double with 22 points and 12 boards, continuing his hot shooting by going 5/10 from three point range. Trevor Booker had his best game of the campaign as he came off the bench for nine points, including a couple of big dunks in the fourth quarter, and nine boards . Porter played 14 minutes and did not get his first NBA points, but grabbed a couple of boards and added an assist. For the Bucks, Khris Middleton starred as he scored a career high 29 points. - Jacob Raim
6:20pm Update : Kevin Seraphin was just announced on the inactive list with a sore right knee. He and Bradley Beal will be tonight's inactives.
5:45pm Update: We just heard from Randy Wittman for his pregame media availability and he indicated that Otto Porter would in fact be available to make his NBA debut tonight. He said "we want to be smart with him" and made it clear that there still will be restrictions on his minutes, but it sounds like he will certainly get out there for the first time in his career.
5:30pm Update: Otto Porter will be available tonight, according to head coach Randy Wittman. More coming soon...
It has been a few days, but the Wizards are back in action tonight as they host the Milwaukee Bucks at Verizon Center. After playing nine times in 14 nights, having three days off felt like an eternity. But it was a time the players could rest their bodies and get healthy again as all of the back-to-backs had to take their toll.
Another positive of having these days off was to give Otto Porter a chance to practice with the team. He missed about two and a half months with a hip injury, but returned for his first practice on November 25th. Because of all the recent games, the team did not practice again until this past Wednesday, December 4th.
Porter practiced both Wednesday and Thursday of this week and has gotten rave reviews from all that have seen him play. He continues to make progress and has been listed as a gametime decision for tonight's #WizBucks game.
Here he is talking about his status at shootaround this morning:
Even if Porter does dress, he likely will only play in a limited role until his conditioning is 100 percent and he's more familiar with the concepts. If the outcome of tonight's game becomes secure in the fourth quarter, maybe then we will see Porter get some run.
The second unit had what Randy Wittman called "their best practice of the year" on Thursday. The second team has been inconsistent through the first 18 games and it has Wittman still searching for the right combinations, but if Porter is able to join that group he could become a real asset on this Wizards roster.
Tonight's opponent, the Milwaukee Bucks, have lost 13 of their last 14 games and sit near the bottom in most offensive categories. But, just because they sit at the bottom of the conference in the standings does not mean this Wizards team can take them lightly. Randy Wittman made that clear in his media availability yesterday and stressed how every team in this league is capable of winning on any given night. Last season, the Wizards struggled against some of the lesser teams but so far this year they are 8-4 against teams with a sub .500 record.
The Bucks do still present some capable scorers, most notably O.J. Mayo who had 21 points when these two teams met last week in Milwaukee.
Eric Maynor talked with Casey Phillips at shootaround this morning about shutting down Mayo and the Bucks' guards:
On their front line, the Bucks will throw out a different looking combination than what we saw a week ago as John Henson has moved into the starting lineup along with Ekpe Udoh.
Henson has been playing well of late, scoring in double figures in the Bucks last three games and recording his first double-double of the season last Saturday against Boston. He'll probably get a lot of Marcin Gortat tonight, who also has been hot lately. He had a season-high 25 points on 11/12 shooting the last time these two teams met.
If the Wizards continue to defend like they have been over these last nine games, they should have no problem winning their sixth straight home game tonight over the Bucks.
We'll check in again before opening tip and see if there is any update on Otto Porter.
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