After losing in disappointing fashion to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night, you’d think the Wizards would try and secure a home victory against the Toronto Raptors. Instead of coming out focused right out of the gate, Washington continuously piled up unforced turnovers and the Raptors took advantage from the start. Toronto has been playing above .500 basketball since trading Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings, but their success on the road is still surprising given the lack of veterans on their team.
Washington is one of the better three point shooting teams in the league, but they couldn’t get any to fall tonight. Bradley Beal made just 6 of his 15 shot attempts, but missed all of his open three point tries. At some point, Beal will play through his shooting slump but it’s definitely hurting the Wizards right now. Even though Beal’s ball handling has improved, he’s invisible when his perimeter shots aren’t falling. To make matters worse for Washington, Trevor Ariza was ejected early in the game for picking up two technical fouls and Washington’s three point shooting was nonexistent.
John Wall finished the game with 11 points on 16 shot attempts. Wall has gotten the best of Kyle Lowry in their 9 match ups prior to tonight, but Lowry finished the game with a double-double tonight. Besides not being able to knock down shots from outside the paint, Wall didn’t do anything particularly bad tonight. When his supporting cast is struggling, Wall will inevitably have some bad nights and tonight was an example of that.
Toronto has definitely improved since trading Rudy Gay and they might even be the third best team in the Eastern Conference with Al Horford out in Atlanta. Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Lowry, and DeMar DeRozan are some of the most underrated players in the league and it was clear who the better team was tonight. They clogged the lanes, making it virtually impossible for John Wall to create opportunities for his bigs off the pick-and-roll and their offense was stagnant for the entire game.
The Wizards have to find a way to win games at home, especially against teams that are in their conference. They knew that the Raptors were playing to get over the .500 hurdle, yet the Wizards looked lethargic from the opening tip. I don’t want to question Washington’s effort, but blowout losses to teams like the Raptors are unacceptable at this point in the season. For a team hoping to get a playoff spot, the Wizards sure didn’t look very competitive tonight.
It won’t get any easier for the Wizards, as they’ll be home on Sunday against the Golden State Warriors.