Wiz Shake off Opening Night Loss, Ready to Rebound Against Raptors

Washington Wizards center Ian Mahinmi speaks with reporters after practice at Entertainment and Sports Arena in southeast D.C. on Oct. 19. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)
Washington Wizards center Ian Mahinmi speaks with reporters after practice at Entertainment and Sports Arena in southeast D.C. on Oct. 19.
By William J. Ford

The Washington Wizards practiced and watched plenty of film Friday after losing the season opener at home to the Miami Heat the night before, coming to one conclusion: They must rebound better in order to win.

Miami out-rebounded Washington on Thursday 55-40, with a 22-7 advantage on the offensive glass. The most egregious offensive rebound came on the Heat’s final possession, when a Kelly Olynyk put-back with 0.2 seconds left sealed the 113-112 win.

“If we want to give ourselves the best chance to win games, we’ve got to rebound,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said after practice Friday at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in D.C. “We made [Miami] miss, but we gave them 27 second-chance points.”

Brooks said the team lost Thursday because of mental mistakes, not effort.

The Wizards were also hampered by foul trouble, particularly starting center Ian Mahinmi, who picked up two early fouls and finished with three points and one rebound in less than 12 minutes of action.

“I have to do a better job staying out of foul trouble,” he said. “This year, I feel like [referees] are emphasizing on ticky-tack fouls. I have to do an extra better job of keeping my hands off [opponents].”

Fortunately, the Wizards have 81 more games to improve.

“Early lessons in the season are always good,” Mahinmi said. “Rather do mistakes now than later in the season. The beauty of the NBA we get another opportunity tomorrow [to] do better.”

Meanwhile, Wizards center Dwight Howard conducted full-court sprints and drills. He also ran some set plays with rookie and first-round draft pick Troy Brown Jr., Devin Robinson and Thomas Bryant.

Brooks said Howard remains listed as day-to-day as he recovers from a piriformis injury, a muscle in the buttocks.

The Toronto Raptors and star forward Kawhi Leonard visit Capital One Arena on Saturday. Leonard, who went north from the San Antonio Spurs in a blockbuster trade in the offseason, notched 24 points and 13 rebounds in his Raptors debut Wednesday.

For the second straight game, Washington will host a team on the end of a back-to-back set. The Raptors play the Boston Celtics at home Friday night.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

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