Morning Shootaround: Looking for identity

Wizards searching for identity
Knicks vs. Wizards, 7 p.m.

The Wizards entered the season with expectations to make the Playoffs. They traded for Marcin Gortat before the season to help achieve that goal. John Wall even made a leap in his game scoring-wise with some pretty big performances already.

Rob Carr/Getty Images/ZimbioSitting at 4-8 and in last place early on in the Southeast Division was not part of the plan. The Eastern Conference is tight enough where it actually probably does not matter a whole lot. A quick win streak could right the ship. Washington is adjusting to the higher expectations and the pressure to play well every game. Every win matters at the bottom of the Playoff race.

Bradley Beal chatted with HoopsAddict's Ryan McNeil about the pressures the Wizards are facing. For the second-year player it remains about improving every day and adjusting to life in the NBA. Washington is still extremely talented and a team capable of making the Playoff push.

The Knicks are in that boat too. Except they faced the pressures of winning a championship after winning the division and winning a playoff series last year.

New York has become a confusing mess with poor efforts on the floor and completely no defense without Tyson Chandler.

To say the least, this is a game both teams desperately need.

Unfortunately for Washington, the team wasted a 37-point effort from John Wall and fell to Toronto 96-88 on Friday.

Kings' Ray McCallum makes strong D-League debut
Kings vs. Clippers, 3:30 p.m.

The NBA D-League started its season Friday night with several NBA prospects dotting rosters. That includes second round picks, former NBA players and plenty of hopefuls. There were some big performances last night too. That came from Sacramento second round pick Ray McCallum. McCallum scored 28 points on 12-for-19 shooting in Reno's loss to Sioux Falls. McCallum did that a lot in college and Sacramento may want to call him up soon.

Lakers dominate Warriors without Curry
Lakers 102, Warriors 95

The Warriors were without Stephen Curry on Friday and it was pretty obvious. Golden State committed 20 turnovers and struggled to find much offensively for most of the night. Andre Iguodala leaving with a hamstring injury did not help matters either. The Lakers though took advantage of those mistakes and got the ball moving with 21 assists. Pau Gasol led the way with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Wolves wax Nets
Timberwolves 111, Nets 81

Kevin Garnett returned home to 'Sota hoping to find the fountain of youth. Not so much. The Nets continued to struggle and continued to ask some pretty serious questions of themselves. The Timberwolves flat out dominated this game getting 17 points from Kevin Love and Kevin Martin each. The Nets had no answers with their depleted lineup. The starting lineup of Reggie Evans-Garnett-Paul Pierce-Joe Johnson-Shaun Livingston recorded only 30 points with Johnson scoring half of them.

Suns back to .500
Suns 98, Bobcats 91

The Suns climbed back to .500 with a seven-point in Charlotte as the team continues an East Coast swing. Read that as relatively easy wins against the struggling Eastern Conference. Channing Frye scored 20 points for the Suns and P.J. Tucker added 17. Charlotte got 17 points from Gerald Henderson.

Rose injury overshadows Blazers win
Trail Blazers 98, Bulls 95

The Bulls lost a 15-point first-half lead. Then they lost the game. That is not the biggest loss from the game. This is a team that hangs on every movement from Derrick Rose. So after he scored 20 points in 28 minutes, Rose left the game hobbling. He was not holding his surgically repaired knee, but the other one. And he left the game on crutches. Chicago is very very worried at this point.

Pelicans hold off Cavs
Pelicans 104, Cavaliers 100

The Cavaliers need some offensive ingenuity at this point. Cleveland's offense down the stretch devolved into Kyrie Irving's slick crossovers and tough finishes in the lane. The Pelicans, on the other hand, had crisp ball movement that got them a Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon 3-pointer that helped the Pelicans take control of the game and hold on for a big home win. Eric Gordon had 19 points and Jrue Holiday scored 15 points to go with 11 assists.

Davis, Harris make progress for Magic
Magic vs. Heat, 7:30 p.m. 

The Magic appear close to getting some reenforcements. Tobias Harris and Glen Davis have been practicing with the team on this light week of games for Orlando. Harris sprained his ankle int he preseason and has yet to see action this regular season. Davis has not played since breaking his foot in January. It may not make the Magic significantly better, but more players provides more options for Jacque Vaughn and the Magic as they make their way through the season.

Hawes has last laugh
76ers 115, Bucks 107, OT

The Bucks looked like they were going to get a win at Philadelphia, then Spencer Hawes happened. Hawes hit a game-tying 3-pointer and then added another one in overtime as Philadelphia came from behind to score the victory. Hawes finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Caron Butler scored 38 points to lead Milwaukee.

Grizzlies lost without Gasol
Spurs 102, Grizzlies 86

San Antonio and Memphis were playing a tight game until Marc Gasol left the game with an injury. And it did not look good. Not for Gasol and not fro the Grizzlies. San Antonio pulled away with a 31-21 fourth quarter and took control of the game. Tony Parker had 20 points and Tiago Splitter emerged with 17 points to lead the way for the Spurs. The loss of Gasol remains a much bigger concern.

Mavs offense still rolling
Mavericks 101, Jazz 91

After a big socring performance Wednesday from Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis, it would be tough to make an encore. Boy did they try though. Monta Ellis scored 26 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 18 points. Not quite Wednesday's win over Houston, but still very very good. The Jazz decidedly are not that good with just one win so far this season. Gordon Hayward recovered from a 1-for-17 performance by shooting 5 for 12 to score 17 points.

Hawks defense keys win
Hawks 96, Pistons 89

The Hawks and Pistons were going neck and neck down the stretch. The team that could execute would win. That team was the Hawks. They forced a few turnovers and Jeff Teague put a bow on a stellar game for him as the Hawks upended the Pistons. Teague scored 18 points and dished out nine assists as he continues to blossom in his new role for Atlanta.

Pacers keep rolling
Pacers 97, Celtics 82

The Pacers are making their case to be the best team in the NBA, even with that team down South in Florida. That collision will come in June. Right now, the Pacers sit at 11-1 and look pretty near unstoppable most nights. Paul George scored 27 points and the defense held Boston to 82 points despit Boston shooting better than 50 percent. This game was the 23rd time since 2001 that a team shot better than 50 percent and scored fewer than 85 points.

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily