The Wizards Summer League run came to an end on Sunday night, as they fell 74-62 to the Sacramento Kings.
The Wiz fell into too big of a hole early on and despite putting forth a valiant comeback effort, they didn't have enough in the tank to make it all the way back and saw their tournament come to an end.
The team played a 3OT game on Saturday night and the sixth game in eight days seemed to take its toll, as the shooting just wasn't there like it was earlier in the tournament.
Glen Rice scored 24 points, which actually lowered his average out here, to go along with his nine boards, but was just 1/9 from 3-point range. Otto Porter scored 16 points and grabbed five boards in the Summer League finale.
Afterwards, it was announced that Glen Rice won the Samsung Summer League MVP Award, while Otto Porter was named to the All-NBA Summer League First Team.
Both awards could not be more deserving as both played about as well as anyone could have hoped.
Rice finished Summer League as the leading scorer, averaging 25.0 ppg & 7.8 rpg, while Porter finished with 19.0 ppg and 5.8 rpg.
We'll have a full Summer League and sights and sounds from Vegas coming soon.
Welcome back to the Thomas and Mack Center for tonight's semifinal matchup between the Wizards and Kings (8pm | NBATV).
We just arrived at the arena and are now watching the end of the other semifinal game between the Rockets and Hornets.
What's at stake today? A trip to the second ever Summer League Finals, which will take place tomorrow night at 9pm ET here at the Thomas and Mack Center.
The Wizards and Kings could be the two best teams out here in Vegas. The Wiz are the only undefeated team (5-0) while the Kings are 4-1 and the winner tonight could very well take home the title. Sacramento's notable names include Ben McLemore, Quincy Acy, Derrick Williams, MarShon Brooks and rookie Nik Stauskas.
If you missed it last night, Glen Rice and Otto Porter put on quite the show here in Vegas, combining for 63 points and 18 boards in a triple overtime thriller over the Spurs. Without Rice's buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the second overtime, we would already be on a flight back to DC. But, his heroics are the reason we play again tonight.
Rice leads all players in scoring with 25.2 ppg, while Porter ranks seventh at 19.6 ppg.
The action kicks off at 8pm tonight on NBATV. We'll be chatting courtside again from the baseline, starting right around tip-off.
What a game. Even if it was "just Summer League", that was a fun one to watch.
In what was the ultimate back-and-forth affair, the Wizards, led by Glen Rice's Summer League high 36 points, took down the San Antonio Spurs, 95-94 in triple overtime to clinch a spot in the semifinals Sunday night.
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The Wiz were down by as many as 17 points in the second quarter, but quickly erased that lead as they jumped out on a 17-2 run to open the third quarter and took the lead going into the fourth. They let a five point lead slip away in the final minute of regulation, but were able to get a big stop on the last play to force the first overtime.
Then Rice had a chance to win it at the end of the first OT, but was stripped on his way to the rim. Rice had another chance to put the Wizards ahead, but missed two crucial free-throws in the final seconds of double-OT which looked like it may cost the Wiz the tournament. But, Rice would get the ultimate redemption at the end of the double overtime session as he knocked down a corner 3-pointer at the horn to force a triple overtime. This got approval from his teammates, John Wall and Brad Beal, who were watching courtside:
Rice talked about hitting that shot and about the 3OT win:
Then in triple OT, Otto scored the first few buckets to get the Wiz going and they would hold on by coming up with a key defensive stop on the final possession to secure the W in what had to be one of the greatest Summer League games of all-time.
Porter, only outscored by his teammate Rice, had a Summer League high 27 points on 8/18 shooting and continued to look impressive as he has throughout the week.
This may have just been the icing on the cake for what has been a tremendous summer for both Rice and Porter, who now have to gear up for another game Sunday night as the Wiz take on the Kings at 8pm ET on NBATV in the semifinals.
Whatever happens from here on out, we'll remember this Summer League as the week Otto and Glen showed they belong and now we wait and see what kind of contributions they'll have for the real team this Fall.
Otto on the 3OT win:
Sam Cassell on the 3OT win:
Wizards vs. Spurs | 10pm | NBATV
We're down to eight teams here in Vegas as NBA Summer League begins to wind down. The Wizards (4-0) are one of the remaining eight and will take on the Spurs (4-1) tonight at the Thomas & Mack Center (10:00pm ET | NBATV). If the Wiz can remain undefeated, they'll move on to the Final Four and play the winner of the Knicks-Hornets game on Sunday night at 8pm ET. If they lose, their tournament is over and they head home.
What should we expect tonight? More of the same for the Wiz. It's been all about Glen Rice and Otto Porter since we arrived last week and don't expect that to change now. Rice is the leading scorer in Vegas, averaging 22.5 points per game, while Otto Porter is tied for 11th with 17.8 points per game. But it's not all about points, the two of them have contributed in many ways, rebounding the ball, playing good defense, and most importantly playing good team ball which is why the team is 4-0.
For the Spurs, they have been led by Austin Daye, Darius Morris, Deshaun Thomas, and their rookie Kyle Anderson. Similar to how their NBA team plays, their Summer League squad has resulted in a very balanced scoring effort in their five games out here.
The Wizards held a shootaround earlier this morning to tune up after having a day off on Friday. They will arrive at the arena around 9pm ET tonight and then tip-off at approx 10pm, though it could be delayed a bit if the other games run long.
We'll be chatting live courtside again and you can watch this game on NBATV.
On to the quarterfinals! In front of John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards picked up their fourth straight Summer League win tonight, downing the Heat, 78-67. The final score doesn't quite indicate how tight of a game this was, as the two teams went back and forth all night. But, an 11-0 run down the stretch sealed it for the Wiz and earned them a spot in the quarterfinals Saturday night. They will take on the San Antonio Spurs at 10pm ET for a chance to make the semifinals/Final Four.
It was Glen Rice and Otto Porter again who led the way in scoring, as Rice hit his lucky number of 22 again, while Porter finished with 14 points. Rice also notched his first double-double out here, pulling down 10 boards in the win. Both Rice and Porter shot 50% from the field for the game, while Rice went to the line to shoot 13 more free-throws. He remains the leading scorer at Summer League and the leader in free-throws attempted.
The highlight of the game may have come from the German, Daniel Theis, who had a giant block of Tyler Honeycut in the second quarter. Theis played by far his best game of the summer, finishing with 10p-11r-4bl.
Afterwards, we tried to talk to Sam Cassell, but his interview got interrupted by some familiar faces:
The Wizards will have Friday off before playing the late game on Saturday night (10:00pm) against the Spurs at Thomas and Mack Center.
The stage is now set. A rematch from Tuesday night as the Wizards and Heat will battle it out again, this time with their tournament life on the line. The winner will play Saturday night in the quarterfinals, while the loser will will play tomorrow night and then depart Summer League.
The Wiz practiced last night as they had a bye in the first round, while the Heat were in action against the Clippers. They beat the Clip, 96-87, and had six guys score in double figures, led by Justin Hamilton's 18 points.
On Tuesday, the Wizards jumped out to a 28-6 lead in the first quarter, but the Heat came back and won the other three quarters and nearly pulled off a miraculous comeback. The Wizards were again led by Glen Rice (24p) and Otto Porter (19p), who have led the team in scoring in all three games. Rice is the leading scorer in Summer League, averaging 22.7 ppg.
One area that was a point of emphasis at practice was limiting turnovers. The Wiz turned the ball over 28 times on Tuesday and that often times can be enough to cost a team a game. Porter and Rice committed 12 of those 28 turnovers and that may be the only negative thing to say about them since we've been in Vegas. We should see a more controlled game tonight as the Wiz look to advance to the quarters on Saturday.
The action tonight kicks off at 8:30pm and can be seen online on NBA.com.
We'll be live chatting on WashingtonWizards.com starting around tip-off.
It's tournament time!
But for the Wizards, they've earned a first-round bye, which means they won't play today. Instead, they will play the winner of the Clippers-Heat game, who play later tonight, on Thursday at 8:30pm from Cox Pavilion.
At 3-0, the Wizards notched the #4 seed in the tournament. If they win tomorrow, they will have Friday off and then play in the quarter-finals at 10pm on Saturday. A loss tomorrow would eliminate the Wizards from the tournament, however they would play one final game before departing Vegas on Friday at 10pm.
On a lighter note, John Wall brought his hat game to Vegas, which drew some attention on social media.
Wall was sitting courtside at the game last night and was constantly yelling out plays and seemed like a coach from the sidelines. Even as a spectator, he wants to be involved in the offense. Must be the point guard in him.
The team will practice again tonight at 8pm ET as they gear up for tournament play.
We'll have more from practice and then updates tomorrow leading up to the game against the Heat or the Clippers.
Wizards 85 - Heat 83
Although it was a little too close for comfort, the Wizards improved to 3-0 as they hung on for an 85-83 win over the Miami Heat to clinch a first-round bye in the Summer League tournament.
After going up by 22 early, the Heat clawed their way back into it by chipping away each quarter. They nearly pulled off a miraculous finish, but rookie Shabazz Napier missed a go-ahead three-pointer with seconds left and the Wizards came out on top.
The Wiz jumped out to a 28-6 lead in the first quarter, thanks to Glen Rice playing out of his mind on both ends of the floor. He went 7/8 and finished with 16 points in the quarter to give the Wiz an 18 point lead. Rice finished with a game-high 24 points on 8/14 shooting and has now scored at least 22 points in all three games. He was also aggressive on the defensive end, forcing multiple 24-second violations and came up with a monster block above the rim in the third quarter.
Otto Porter had another solid showing, finishing with 19 points on 7/13 shooting and seven boards. He converted a few 3-point plays as he was able to take on contact and knock down jumpers, something he has made a habit of out here in Vegas. He played relaxed, looked comfortable, and was showing fans why the Wizards picked him with the #3 pick in last year's draft.
Rice and Porter have now led the Wizards in scoring in all three games and have been everything the team could have hoped for. All eyes were on the two of them since Summer League started and they have impressed. Three strong showings for both the two of them and for the team, and now they will get a day off before tournament play on Thursday.
Khem Birch had another good outing as well, scoring seven points and pulling down a team-high 11 boards. Jamil Wilson had 10 points off the bench on 4/6 shooting.
The Wizards will have Wednesday off before they start tournament play on Thursday. The opponent and time will come out later tonight once all games are finished.
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Wizards vs. Heat 6:30pm ET
We're back with more Summer League action tonight as the Wizards look to remain undefeated and lock up a bye in the first round of the tournament with a win over the Miami Heat.
The Wizards are off to a 2-0 start after they beat the Hawks on Saturday and then the Timberwolves on Sunday. They had Monday off and now look to improve to 3-0 when they take on the Heat at 6:30pm tonight.
A win tonight would guarantee them a spot in the top eight, which would mean they would have Wednesday off, when teams seeded 9-24 would compete to stay alive in the tournament. If they lose tonight, they still could be a top eight team, but it would come down to tie-breakers, which would first be determined by the number of quarters they've won.
We'll know by the end of the day where they will be seeded and who they will play next, either on Wednesday or Thursday.
As for the game today, the Wizards hope to see more of the same from both Otto Porter and Glen Rice, who have both been impressive through two games in Vegas. Rice has scored 22 points in both games and has been attacking the rim at will. Porter hasn't been shy himself and has looked to get his shot off from all over the court. Most of his shots have been mid-range jumpers, but he's capable of stepping back and shooting from 3-point range as well, so we'll see if he looks for some more perimeter shots tonight.
We'll be chatting again from the baseline at Thomas & Mack beginning around 6:30pm ET. The game will be televised on CSN locally or online at NBA.com.
Wizards 67 - Wolves 61
Two games, two wins.
After being deadlocked at 35 at the half, the Wizards came out and controlled play in the third quarter and for the second straight night they wound up on the winning side when the final whistle blew.
Thanks to another 22 point performance from Glen Rice, his second straight game with 22p, the Wizards downed the Wolves, 67-61 on Sunday night from the Thomas & Mack Center. Rice shot 7/14 from the floor and went 4/8 from 3-point range. He shot seven more free-throws again tonight and now has shot 23 free-throws in two Summer League games. It's not a coincidence that he keeps getting to the line, it's all by design. Rice has been aggressive on the offensive end and does a tremendous job using his body to take on contact and finish near the rim. He talked about that after the game tonight:
Rice also had six boards, three assists and three steals to round out his stat line.
Otto Porter didn't shoot the ball quite as well as he did in the first game, but still was solid in this one, adding 13 points on 6/16 shooting. He finished with five boards and two assists and was a +11 in his 30 minutes of action. He took a shot to the face late in the third quarter, which forced him to the sideline, but was able to return to finish the game and said afterwards that he'll be fine moving forward.
Both Porter and Rice got off to a scorching start, combining to make their first five shots and helped build up an early Wizards lead. Similar to the opener, they both played within the offense and looked extremely comfortable and confident on the court. Neither would turn down a shot, but they also were not forcing anything and really had a good sense of the court. They've been playing almost exclusively together, which is by design, to help them build chemistry on the court leading into camp.
While of course "it's just Summer League", what they've shown on the court through two games has to have this franchise feeling good about these two young ones moving forward.
Sam Cassell talked highly of their play after the game:
Also of note, Jamil Wilson, who stepped into the starting lineup in place of the injured Daniel Orton, scored 11 points including 2/2 from 3-point range. Khem Birch was impressive again in this one, blocking four shots and drew a Serge Ibaka comparison from his coach after the game. Maalik Wayns finished with four points, five boards, and six assists in the win.
The Wizards are now one of six teams who are 2-0 here in Vegas and are in pretty good position to earn a bye when seeding is done after games on Tuesday. We'll explain how the tournament works after the seeding comes out at the conclusion of the team's third game. But if they are a top eight team out here, they'll earn a bye and won't have to play on Wednesday. Their fourth game would be on Thursday, where they would play for a spot in the quarter finals.
It's still early to talk too much about the single-elimination tournament, so we'll save the rest for Tuesday night.
The Wizards will play their third game on Tuesday at 6:30pm ET against the Miami Heat (CSN).
Wizards vs. Wolves | 10:30pm | CSN
After their impressive win yesterday over the Hawks, with Otto Porter and Glen Rice combining for 47 of the team's 90 points, the Wiz will look to move to 2-0 when they take on the Wolves tonight at Thomas & Mack.
With the late time slot tonight, the team held a shootaround this morning to iron a few things out. One thing they talked a lot about on the court and then coach Cassell mentioned after was cleaning up the second-chance points. They felt that was an area of weakness on Saturday and want to do a better job on the glass tonight.
The gameplan on offense will be more of what we saw yesterday. Feed Otto and Glen, let them get their touches and be the two primary options. I thought they did a great job yesterday in feeling out the offense and shot when shots were there and passed when they were under pressure. They didn't force anything and let the game come to them, rather then try to do too much. That was something I was a little worried about because they know all eyes are on them out here.
On the other side, we'll see our old friend and assistant coach Ryan Saunders, who just a few weeks ago joined his father and former Wizards head coach Flip Saunders on the Wolves' coaching staff. He'll probably have a pretty good idea of what the Wizards are trying to do and may recognize some of the sets, but it is just a Summer League game so it's not as if teams create full scouting reports heading into these contests.
For the Wizards, Daniel Orton missed shootaround and will miss tonight's game with a strained right calf. It's possible Daniel Miller will step into his starting spot at the center position.
We'll be live chatting again from the baseline at Thomas & Mack, beginning around 10:30pm ET tonight. Often times the games get a little delayed as they are all slotted back-to-back, and the late time slot usually means tip-off will be sometime after 10:30pm. We'll be tweeting from the arena to keep all the fans up to date on when the game will get going. Once again, the game can be seen on CSN locally or online via NBA.com.
Wizards 90 - Hawks 74
One game down, one win in the books.
Could not have asked for a much better opening game than what we saw today.
The gameplan coming into today was to let Otto and Glen get a lot of touches, be active in the offense, and they were just that. Porter went 11/16 from the floor and scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Wizards to a 90-74 win. He scored 14 of his 25 in the third quarter on 6/8 shooting. Glen Rice was impressive in his own right, getting to the line early and often and scoring 22 points on 14/16 from the FT line.
The best part was that nothing was forced, they did everything within the flow of the offense and really took charge. Porter put on a clinic in shooting midrange jumpers and looked like the best player on the floor throughout the game. He also pulled down seven boards and made some nice passes early on to finish with three assists.
It was just what the doctor ordered. Two really solid performances from the two players under contract with the Wizards and a win to kick off Summer League.
Also of note, Daniel Orton led the team with eight boards and although he had just two assists, both were memorable and drew some ooo's and ahh's from the crowd as he fired no-look passes underneath the hoop for easy buckets.
Khem Birch was solid, scoring six points in the early goings and played really solid defense starting at the PF spot. Maliik Wayns led the team with five assists and had just one turnover in 25 minutes of play.
The former Hokie, Jerell Eddie, went 2/3 from 3-point range and had eight points off the bench.
Up next for the Wizards, they take on the Timberwolves Sunday night at 10:30pm ET (CSN).
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Checking in from the Thomas & Mack Center for the Summer League opener! Always exciting getting ready to see the squad play a real game for the first time after a week of practice.
All eyes will be on Otto Porter and Glen Rice, the two players under contract, as they look to shine out here in Vegas and build some momentum heading into the Fall.
It will be a good chance for Otto to showcase his skills, after last year injuring himself in the second game and missing most of the Summer League and then all of training camp. He's certainly eager to take on a bigger role and he'll have every chance to do so as the coaches are sure to get him involved in the offense early and often. But, I also really enjoy watching him defend and I think that's where he can really make a difference in this league. His length and athleticism can cause problems and he really does an exceptional job deflecting passes in the passing lanes.
As for Glen Rice, he can flat out score, and the Summer League is a place where he just may be able to do that. It's a little bit more free-flowing than a regular season game, which suits Rice's style as a gunner on the offensive end. He also said he's planning to focus on his defensive skills while out here in Vegas, so keep an eye on how aggressive he plays in the opener today.
The rest of the roster are guys trying to make it in the league and searching for an NBA contract. That always create a great deal of hungriness and tenacity, so we'll see if any of the non-roster guys impress enough to warrant an invitation to training camp.
The action kicks off at 4:30pm ET and can be seen locally on CSN or online here ($4.99).
You can follow along in our Live Chat on WashingtonWizards.com where I'll be chatting live from the baseline at the Thomas & Mack Center.
We made it to Vegas late last night and now it's time to go to work.
Today the team practiced for the first time at Thomas & Mack, where they will play all three scheduled games over the next five days.
First practice in Vegas #WizSummer2014 https://t.co/PV2OvJ0DIhPractice consisted of many teaching points from the coaches, who are trying to get the team ready for their first game on Saturday. Assistant coach Sam Cassell was the acting head coach, something that's not uncommon for teams at Summer League. Most teams will rotate through their assistants and give them a chance to run the team for a game.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) July 11, 2014
The team worked on both offensive sets and defensive responsibilities, doing everything they can to simulate live action in anticipation of the opener tomorrow.
Stay tuned for more from Vegas as the Wiz get ready to take on the Hawks, Saturday at 4:30pm ET from the Thomas & Mack Center.