First impressions are everything.
Bobby Portis — yes, the Bobby Portis that the Wizards traded for on Wednesday — scored 30 points off the bench in his Washington debut as the Wizards took down the Cavs, 119-106 on Friday night. Bradley Beal turned in another outstanding performance with 25 points while the other newest Wizard, Jabari Parker got in on the fun with a near triple-double with 7 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists.
Like we’ve seen many times this year, the Wizards had a ho-hum approach to start this game. They looked lifeless and didn’t get much energy from the crowd (can you blame them?), but the game got turned upside down when the newest Wizards, Portis, and Parker entered the game.
Parker hit his first shot as a Wizard, a corner three. Portis one-upped him by making his first 6 shots en route to a 16-point opening period. The spark from Portis and Parker carried over into the second quarter as the Wizards took a 66-52 lead into halftime. Then, Washington made three consecutive 3-pointers to open the second half on a 9-0 run. It looked like Washington might usher this game to a quick ending, but no lead is safe in Washington, regardless of who is donning a uniform for the team. Cleveland outscored Washington 29-15 the rest of the third quarter and cut the lead to four early in the fourth.
Then, after missing his first seven three-point attempts, Trevor Ariza finally connected from three-point range to give the Wizards some breathing room. The next time down the floor, Tomas Satoransky drove into the lane and kicked it to who else, Bobby Portis, who knocked down the 3-pointer to get to 30 points on the night and shut the door on Cleveland’s comeback bid.
Washington cruised the rest of the way to a 119-106 victory to end their two-game losing skid.
How about that for a first impression?
You know what they say, first impressions are lasting impressions. The former Bulls sent over in the Otto Porter trade had just about the best debut you could have hoped for against Cleveland.
Portis looked tentative on his first possession in a Wizards uniform when he turned the ball over, but that’s about the only thing he did wrong this evening. He hit a floater in the lane midway through the first quarter that opened the floodgates. He had a pick-and-pop rhythm with Beal which led to a pair of open 3-pointers for Portis in the early going.
He finally missed a shot in the second quarter but finished the half with a team-high 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
Parker also had an impressive debut and got things going by knocking down a corner three just seconds after entering the game. He looked more hesitant to shoot compared to what we’ve seen in Milwaukee and Chicago, but he made it a priority to get his teammates involved early and often. He had seven first half assists, including a behind-the-back pass to Trevor Ariza for the dunk and foul.
Bradley Beal turns in another gem
Beal started out the game slowly, as a scorer. He was a facilitator early on, getting six assists in the first quarter prior to attempting his first shot of the game late in the period. After putting up 12 points and nine assists in the first half, Beal went into scoring mode to start the second half. He connected on back-to-back three-pointers from the same spot as Washington started the period on a quick 9-0 run. He ended the evening with a near triple-double, racking up 25 points and 13 assists to go along with 6 rebounds.
Next up: Portis and Parker will get a chance to show off their new uniforms in Chicago as the Wizards face the Bulls on Saturday at 8 pm Eastern Time.