Coming off two straight wins and playing a team that is basically up to their competitive level, the Washington Wizards had a chance to rise higher in the ranks of the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, several missed opportunities led to a disappointing loss on the road against the Toronto Raptors.
John Wall had an outstanding game with 37 points on 15/20 shooting from the floor. While he only had 2 assists, his scoring ability was on full display tonight and every point was needed, as he aggressively attacked the rim in transition all game and had even knocked down his jumper. Beal had 17 points but was only 7/21 from the field and 2 for 9 from 3. Nene struggled with just 10 points, making just 5 of his 14 field goal tries, along with some crucial misses at the end of the game, including a dunk which would have put the Wizards within 1 late in the game.
On the Raptors end, DeMar DeRozan led the way with 17 points on 7 for 14 shooting. Rudy Gay also had 17, and hit some key shots late in the game after struggling mightily early. Amir Johnson added 14 on 7 for 8 shooting and killed the Wizards early with excellent rolls to the rim and his usual hustle. Jonas Valanciunas did not shoot well, but dominated the glass all game.
The Wizards started the game out trading baskets with the Raptors in the 1st quarter. The interior defense struggled mightily as points in the paint came by easy for Toronto, especially by Amir Johnson rolling to the rim and DeMar DeRozan’s penetration. The Wizards then went completely cold in the 2nd quarter, shooting 4 of 21 from the field and letting the Raptors lead balloon to as much as 16. At the time of the 3rd quarter, the Wizards turned things around completely, outscoring Toronto 32-15 due to some John Wall magic. He got to the rim easily in transition due to being a ball hawk all night. This opened up Wall’s perimeter game as well, as he made some key jumpers, including 2 threes, one of which cut the Raptors lead to just 2 late. However, the Raptors bench gave them the lead for good in the fourth quarter, and some key Rudy Gay shots put the game away.
Here are some Bullet Points that occurred during the game:
- Amir Johnson’s rolls to the rim have killed the Wizards in the first quarter
- Gortat has been very good converting at the rim on offense but playing too far out on the perimeter, needs to sag off PnRs
- Eric Maynor continues to disappoint with his careless turnovers and his inability to make simple passes, he’s not a scorer so if he isn’t running the offense, he’s essentially useless
- DeRozan penetrating easily to the rim, absolutely no rim protection without Gortat (wasn’t much with him either)
- Wizards tightening up their D with the starters back, but still can’t score in the 2nd quarter
- Wizards are sloppy and missing easy shots, Gortat has botched a few off good rolls to the rim
- Turnovers, easy misses, and bad defense has led to a bad half offensively. Wizards shot way too many long twos and were not getting to the line enough.
- Wizards are trapping much harder and not letting the Raptors get to the rim in the start of the 2nd half
- Wall has taken over, has thrived in his free safety role and is starting to knock down his jumpers, getting to the rim with ease in transition
The Wizards will play New York tomorrow night at home in the second night of their back to back. The Knicks are 3-8 and have struggled, so this is an important game for a struggling Wizards team looking to keep up in the playoff rankings.