Raptors at Wizards Game 4: Washington turns in a gritty performance for a 106-98 victory over Toronto

Bradley Beal fouled out with just under four minutes to play with the game tied at 92 sucking all the life out of Capital One Arena. Even though the game was tied, the Wizards looked defeated. But the Wizards, the up-and-down Wizards, they don’t know what to expect next Wizards persevered and closed the game on a 14-4 run and beat the Raptors 106-98 evening the series at two games apiece.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 31 points and John Wall added 27 as the Washington backcourt one-ups the Toronto backcourt of Lowry and DeRozan outscoring them 58-54 tonight. Otto Porter was quiet in the first half but scored 11 in the second half for the Wizards who have now won eight straight home playoff games dating back to last season.

Things looked bleak for the home squad early on. With the refs calling the game tight, the Raptors, well mainly DeMar DeRozan were in ultra-attack mode. DeRozan went right at the Wizards and as a result, got 12 free throw attempts (made 9) in just the first quarter alone. The Wizards, on the other hand, couldn’t buy a bucket. Washington shot just 36 percent from the field in the first quarter and trailed 30-22 after one period.

That stagnant offense carried over to the second quarter where John Wall and Bradley Beal took turns going one-on-one against the Toronto defense. To no one’s surprise, that didn’t work either and the Wizards managed to shoot even worse (34 percent) in the second quarter trailing 51-40 at halftime.

Washington’s offense finally got going in the third quarter, once they were able to run. The Wizards got out in transition and Porter was the beneficiary knocking down two three-pointers in as many possessions to cut into the Raptors lead. Marcin Gortat, who scored 12 points tonight had two buckets from close is as Washington used a 13-2 run to tie the game at 58 in the third period.

Washington opened the period 13-20 from the field and matched their first-half point production with 40 in the third quarter, as we’d be all tied up at 80 after three.

All that excitement looked like it would be short-lived as the Raptors opened the period on an 8-0 run taking an 88-80 lead. But Bradley Beal would come alive knocking down a three in transition and two free throws to tie the game again at 90.

That’s when all hell broke loose. With just four minutes to play, DeMar DeRozan stumbled over Beal’s foot in what was a very questionable foul call, fouling Beal out of the game. With the game tied at 92, the Wizards would have to play the last three minutes and change without their best scorer.

But that’s when the Wizards locked in defensively. Washington was able to limit Lowry and DeRozan down the stretch who’d been killing them all night. DeRozan missed four of his last five shots to end the game and the Wizards knocked down their free throws to ice it.

We’ve got a brand new series as we’re all tied up at two games apiece now.

Wall and Beal outduel DeRozan and Lowry for a second straight game

John Wall and Bradley Beal got the best of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry as the duo combined for 58 points. Wall scored 27 of those to go along with 14 assists and six rebounds in the Wizards victory.

Bradley Beal continued his hot shooting out of the gate with nine points on 4-6 shooting in the first quarter. Wall and Beal were the only Wizards players who could do anything on the offensive end in the first half scoring 23 of the Wizards’ 40 points.

Beal got going yet again in the third quarter with five quick points to get the Wizards back within striking distance. John Wall’s jumper was falling too as he was knocking down his pull-up and elbow jumper with consistency. Wall was able to get to the line tonight but knocked down just 7 of his 10 attempts. But as Wall does best, he was getting others involved, dishing out most of his 14 assists after halftime.

DeMar DeRozan was unstoppable tonight scoring a game-high 35 points this evening. The Wizards had no answer for DeRozan early on as he got in the paint, knocked down long twos, and was able to get to the line evidenced by his 18 free throw attempts. The Wizards had no answer for the All-Star through three quarters but were able to put the clamps on him in the fourth quarter.

To no one’s surprise, another ‘House of Guards’ game results in another Washington victory.

Good Oubre Bad Oubre was on full display tonight

Kelly Oubre’s rollercoaster of a season continued tonight as the third-year player could not knock down a jump shot. However, that didn’t prevent him from attacking the hole and getting to the line. Once Oubre realized his shot wasn’t falling, he’d stick his head down and attack the hole – sometimes resulting in a layup, sometimes resulting in a foul, and other times, resulting in a turnover. Oubre’s 10 points off the bench were highest amongst Washington reserves tonight and the Wizards needed every one of them.

Oubre came up big for the Wizards on the defensive end with the role of stopping DeRozan in the second half. He did about as good as a job as one could in stopping the All-NBA scorer. With Beal fouled out, Oubre did a terrific job snagging loose balls and coming up with two steals in the final four minutes.

The Wizards need this type of effort from Oubre if they are going to win this series.

Tip Ins

  • Marcin Gortat had another very nice game with 12 points (6-8 shooting) to go along with 6 rebounds

  • Otto Porter, who scored just one point in the first half ended the game with 12 including many timely buckets as the Wizards were mounting their comeback
  • The Wizards had another nice game defensively coming up with 10 steals and 8 blocks for the evening
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Raptors at Wizards Game 3: Washington protects home court with 122-103 blowout win

John Wall and Bradley Beal explode for 28 points each as the Wizards stay alive in the series, blowing out the Raptors 122-103 on Friday night. Marcin Gortat had a throwback game with 16 points and five rebounds and Otto Porter chipped in with 8 points and 8 rebounds as the Wizards win their seventh straight home playoff game dating back to last season.

Everyone not named Bradley Beal looked tight for the Wizards to start this game. Beal, who took just 11 shots and scored only nine points in Game 2 was ultra aggressive early on scoring 12 points on 5-7 shooting in the first quarter.

But it was the energy from Kelly Oubre that jumpstarted the Wizards. Oubre was very active on the defensive end deflecting passes while also diving on the floor for loose balls. That activated an 11-2 run in the second quarter for the Wizards to take control of the game 69-61, at the break.

The second half was very chippy and will be something to keep an eye on as the series progresses. In the opening minutes of the third quarter, Wall threw an outlet pass to Beal who went up for the dunk and got hit across the head by Kyle Lowry resulting in a flagrant-1 foul. Just minutes later, Jonas Valanciunas got called for an offensive foul and when Beal went to grab the ball from Valanciunas, he wasn’t having it. The two got tangled up but it was Wall and Serge Ibaka who ended up getting into it and both picking up technical fouls.

That sparked another jolt into the Wizards as they went on a 12-2 run to go up 94-76 and never looked back in this one. Aside from a mini lag in the fourth quarter where the Raptors were able to claw within 13, Washington had this one in the bag.

Washington protects home court and are on the series scoreboard, 2-1.

We finally get a House of Guards game

One of these guys isn’t enough – the Wizards need both Bradley Beal and John Wall to play well if they’re going to win this series, and tonight they got it. The duo combined for 56 points, 18 assists (Wall with 14), and seven steals in this one. John Wall got off to a slow start connecting on just 1-4 field goal attempts but Beal snapped out of his mini-funk with 12 points on 5-7 shooting in the first quarter.

Wall looked to push the ball in transition tonight finding Beal in the corner for wide-open threes. In the halfcourt, Wall would drive baseline or into a crowded painted area only to kick it out to Beal for the wide-open jumper.

The House of Guards (do we still call them that?) combined for 40 of the Wizards 69 first-half points this evening.

In games 1 and 2, Wall was outstanding but Beal never arrived to the party. It’s nights like tonight that remind you what this team is capable of when both guys show up.

Washington shows up on the defensive end

This isn’t brain surgery here but when the Wizards lock in defensively, they’re a very good team. The Wizards played much better defense to start this one but you couldn’t tell by looking at the score as Toronto started the game 5-7 from the field including 3-4 from three-point range. But, active hands defensively, starting with Oubre, flipped the script for the Wizards in this one.

The Wizards got their hands on passes, were first to the floor, and forced Toronto into many mistakes as they turned 13 Raptors turnovers into 22 points in the first half alone. Many of those turnovers were of the live-ball variety and there’s no one better than Wall to push the ball on an odd-man break off of those live-ball turnovers.

Marcin Gortat had a bit of a throwback game tonight and played much better on Valanciunas even though he scored 14 points. Mahinmi stepped in and played his role as a rim protector with three blocks (all in the first half) and Mike Scott held his own against the likes of Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl.

The difference in defensive effort from Games 1 & 2 and tonight was night and day.

Tip Ins

  • Mike Scott was a perfect 4-4 from the field for 12 points and the dagger to all but end this one

  • Otto Porter only scored eight points tonight but knocked down two timely three-pointers at times where the Wizards’ lead was dwindling
  • Ty Lawson continues to provide value with 5 points, 2 assists, and 4 rebounds in just 15 minutes of play

Wizards vs. Raptors Game 2 final score: Washington can’t slow Toronto down in 130-119 loss

DeMar DeRozan scored 37 points and led a Toronto onslaught as the Raptors rolled over the Wizards 130-119 in Game 2 of their first-round series on Tuesday night.

John Wall scored a game-high 29 points to go along with 9 assists but got next to no help from his fellow starters. The rest of the starting five combined for 27 only points. Mike Scott, arguably the second best player on the Wizards in this series had a nice game with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 4-of-5 from three-point range and Ty Lawson, playing his first game as a Wizard, added 14 points and 8 assists off the bench.

Toronto started the game where they left off from the last one, connecting on their first four field goals and forcing Scott Brooks to burn an early timeout. The timeout didn’t work. The Raptors knocked down seven three-pointers in the opening period en route to a franchise-record 44-point first quarter.

Washington started the second quarter connecting on their first six field goals but unfortunately for the Wizards, they couldn’t get any defensive stops. They trailed 76-58 at halftime and if it weren’t for Mike Scott scoring 14 first-half points, it could have been way uglier.

Washington got back into the game with a better second half. They trimmed the deficit to 10 at end of the third quarter and even cut the lead to five, 108-103, in the fourth quarter. But as soon as they got within an arm’s reach, Toronto countered with a 17-4 run to pull away and send the Wizards back home down 0-2.

Takeaways

This one was over early

Otto Porter knocked down a midrange jumper to start the game as the Wizards took a 2-0 lead. But, that was just about the only thing that went well for the Wizards in a nightmarish first quarter for Washington where they showed just about as much intensity as they would in a mid-January game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Washington’s regular season bad habits, mainly on the defensive end, reared their ugly head from the get-go. The Wizards couldn’t get a stop in the first quarter if their life depended on it and lapses occurred in a variety of ways. Toronto had the ball on a string, and that had Washington scrambling and more often than not, creating wide-open three-point attempts for the Raptors.

With the Wizards already in a 17-6 hole, John Wall picked up his second foul of the game on an offensive foul where he was out of control driving through the lane at the 7:42 mark of the first quarter. His early foul trouble led Ty Lawson to see his first action as a Wizard. To make matters worse, Bradley Beal picked up his second foul and was forced to go to the bench at the 3:59 mark of the period all but erasing Washington’s hopes in this one not even one quarter into the game.

Toronto shot 59 percent from the field and knocked down 7-13 three-point attempts en route to a franchise-high 44-point first quarter.

The Wizards trailed by as many as 22 points in a quarter that featured two separate 10-0 runs by the Raptors.

All Washington starters not named John Wall no-showed tonight

John Wall led the Wizards with 29 points and 9 assists with most of his damage coming after halftime as he was sidelined for most of the first half with foul trouble. He was much more aggressive in the second half and again, was not settling for jumpers. He got to the hole and finished and got to the stripe as well, knocking down all 11 free-throw attempts.

Unfortunately for Wall and the Wizards, he was the only starter who played well. Porter, Morris, Beal, and Gortat combined for 27 points on 32 shots. Morris was -31 on the night and Beal was a -34, the worst plus/minus for a Wizards player in a playoff in 20 years.

Game Notes

Wizards at Raptors Game 1: Toronto’s depth is too much for Washington to handle in 114-106 victory

John Wall scored 23 points to go along with 15 assists but it wouldn’t be enough as the Wizards drop Game 1 of the postseason to the Toronto Raptors, 114-106. Markieff Morris scored 22 to go along with 11 rebounds and six assists and Mike Scott added 14 off the bench but the Toronto Raptors win Game 1 of a series for the first time in 10 tries.

Toronto ran out to an early 22-13 run but the Wizards were able to withstand the first punch of the game from the Raptors. Washington found their groove in the second quarter behind the ultra-aggressive play from John Wall who scored 13 points and dished out 10 assists before halftime. With both Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi in foul trouble, Mike Scott saw some extended time and took advantage. Washington used an 11-0 run late in the second quarter to take the lead into halftime, 59-55.

The game seesawed back-and-forth for the third quarter and the Raptors held the slimmest of leads, 86-85 entering the fourth quarter. The tide turned for Washington two minutes into the fourth quarter when Mike Scott committed a flagrant foul on Kyle Lowry. Lowry knocked down both free-throws and Toronto also scored on the possesion regaining the lead, 92-91. The Raptors then used an 11-0 run since that flagrant foul to pull away in this one.

Washington played Toronto tough for 3.5 quarters but it’s clear, that won’t be enough to beat this team.

A difference in bench units

Toronto’s bench was one of their biggest strengths coming into the series. The question for Washington was, would their bench be able to keep pace with them? Outside of Mike Scott who scored 14 points, that would be a resounding no as the rest of the Washington reserves combined for just seven.

Delon Wright, playing more minutes than usual due to Fred Vanvleet’s injury scored 17 points for a bench unit that combined for 42 points tonight. In the first half, it was OG Anunoby stepping up for the Raptors as he knocked down two three-pointers early on. Washington lost CJ Miles in transition one too many times and he made them pay, knocking down 4-7 three-point attempts for 12 points off the Raptors’ bench.

Toronto went 11-deep tonight so Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were able to stay fresh as they logged 37 and 35 minutes respectively. On the flip side, the Wall and Beal logged 39 and 41 minutes respectively and didn’t look as spry down the stretch. Having the confidence to play up to 11 players in the playoffs is a wonderful advantage that most teams don’t have. Toronto was able to play guys like Delon Wright, Pascal Siakam and Lucas Nogueira (played all nine of his minutes in the fourth quarter) down the stretch in the fourth quarter and help build out the Toronto lead against the Washington starters.

It’s pretty clear that the Wizards will need better games from Kelly Oubre and Tomas Satoransky if this series is going to be competitive.

An ultra intense Wall nearly carries the Wizards to victory

Many wondered if Wall would be able to play heavy minutes while also be effective after only playing four games in his final tune-up prior to the postseason. It’s very clear, Wall is A-OK.

Wall was super aggressive tonight looking to push the ball in transition and didn’t really settle for any long twos tonight. Toronto dared Wall to take three-pointers early on and he won that battle knocking down 2-3 from range in the first quarter.

With the pace of the game slowing down and favoring the Raptors, Wall looked to push the ball and get out in transition. Those resulted in some baskets from close in and wide open shots in transition for the Wizards. It also opened up the floor for the Wall and Gortat pick-and-roll to flourish as he was able to spoon feed the big man for shots around the rim.

Wall wasn’t super effective tonight as he shot just 6-21 from the field but he wasn’t settling. He was super aggressive in attacking the hole but unfortunately for the point guard, he couldn’t convert from close in nor was he getting calls.

Tip Ins:

  • Otto Porter clearly didn’t look 100 percent and was the only Wizards starter who didn’t score in double figures
  • The Wizards went small for a majority of the game and it looks like they’ll have to continue to do that if they want to stay competitive in the series

It didn’t end in victory, but John Wall was the main reason the Wizards were able to stay competitive in this one.

Up Next: Game 2 of the series is Tuesday night in Toronto.

The Wizards’ series against the Raptors is an opportunity to restore hope for this season and the future

With just 17 seconds remaining and the Wizards up 72-69, Andre Miller went to the line with a chance to ice the ballgame. He missed both free throws but Nene was there to tap the loose ball out to Bradley Beal and draw another foul. The second-year player calmly knocked down both free throws – closing out the series against the Chicago Bulls who were nearly unanimously picked to beat the Wizards in the 2014 Eastern Conference opening round of the playoffs.

The baby Wizards, a team led by a 24-year-old John Wall and 21-year-old Bradley Beal bounced the Chicago Bulls, a veteran playoff team that had made the playoffs six years in a row. The series win brought joy to a franchise desperate to move on from the Gilbert Arenas era, but the hope about the team’s bright future far surpassed the satisfaction of the win itself.

Washington’s surprise win put everyone on notice that the Wizards were a team to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference. The window of opportunity had opened and the rest of the conference was put on notice they’d be around for years to come. They even captured the attention of Paul Pierce, who opted to sign with the Wizards for a season to mentor the young backcourt and try to guide the franchise past the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Yet, in the four years that have passed since the Wizards’ breakthrough win over the Bulls, they’ve done little to take advantage of their window of opportunity. The core of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter still haven’t advanced past the second round.

After putting together their best campaign since 1978 last season, Washington has fallen on tough times this time around. They’re entering the playoffs as the eighth seed, and need to go through the 59-win Raptors and most likely the Cavaliers to break through and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Despite it all, they have a golden opportunity to right all of their wrongs from a disappointing regular season and make a run at that elusive, Eastern Conference Finals appearance. Their first round matchup against the Toronto Raptors will not be easy, however, the Wizards have shown that they can compete with the team up north. They split the season series with Toronto 2-2; playing all four games without John Wall. Facing the Cavaliers won’t be easy either, but with the way the Cavaliers have struggled defensively, and the drama that has surrounded the team this season, anything is possible. The Eastern Conference is as wide open as it’s been since LeBron James left Miami.

If the Wizards can’t get it done, they have a get out of jail free card for this season—John Wall missed 41 games this year and will likely be less than 100 percent for these playoffs—but that doesn’t change the reality that this might be their last chance to keep their window of opportunity open.

As the Wizards have struggled to improve, other contenders in the East continue to get better. Say what you want about the Raptors’ playoff shortcomings, they’ve found ways to improve around their talented backcourt. The Celtics lost Gordon Hayward minutes into the season and Kyrie Irving missed 22 games with injuries. Yet, they were still able to rattle off a 55-win season. The 76ers are currently riding a 16-game winning streak and already have a 50-plus win season to their credit. The Bucks have arguably the best player in the conference besides LeBron James and an attractive coaching position to fill this summer. The Pacers put together a 48-win season in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

Looking past this season, things don’t seem any brighter for the Wizards barring a complete overhaul. They’re already in the luxury tax, so they won’t have the means to make a splash in free agency this summer. Much like last summer, they’ll have to sign guys at minimum to mid-level deals and hope they can bolster a bench unit which has struggled to support Washington’s key players.

They’ll probably rate as the sixth or seventh best roster in the East on paper. The core of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter isn’t old, but it isn’t young either. Almost every other contender’s core is younger, save for the Raptors, Celtics, and the Cavaliers, who have already solidified themselves as more legitimate contenders than Washington in the present.

Things don’t get any better in 2019. Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris’ contracts come off the books, but that’s also when John Wall’s supermax extension kicks in and Kelly Oubre will be eligible for restricted free agency.

Everything seemed so clear four years ago when the Wizards’ young core took down the Bulls. Their window to contend was open and it looked like it would stay that way for next 8-10 years. This year’s wide-open race in the East might be the Wizards’ last chance to prop that window back open before it’s too late.

Wizards vs. Celtics final score: Washington ends losing streak with 113-101 win over Boston

John Wall went 4-of-5 from deep and scored a game-high 29 points as the Wizards snapped their four-game losing streak with an emphatic 113-101 victory over the Celtics on Tuesday night. Bradley Beal added 19 points and Markieff Morris scored 13 in the Wizards’ last home game of the regular season.

Jaylen Brown came out scorching hot for the Celtics to start the game. The second-year player made six of his first nine shots, including a 5-for-7 start on 3-point attempts. He racked up 21 points in the first quarter alone as he tried to become the first ever #WizardsKiller to have his jersey retired after one quarter.

Washington locked in defensively in the second quarter which changed the dynamic of the game. After giving up six threes in the first quarter, the Wizards held Boston to just seven the rest of the game. Outside of a minor stretch in the third quarter in which Boston got several second chance-opportunities, the Wizards controlled the glass out-rebounding the Celtics 51-44.

The Wizards slowly took control in this game in the second half but really blew things open in the fourth quarter. Washington went on a 13-5 run to start the period that put the game out of reach and allowed the Wizards to win comfortably.

Washington’s victory ensures they stay within striking distance of the Bucks and Heat in the East standings. They’re still currently in eighth place but can move up as high as sixth depending on how things play out on the final night of the season on Wednesday.

Takeaways

John Wall is still too quick

Other parts of John Wall’s game clearly aren’t fully back but speed isn’t one of them.

With just 3.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter, John Wall scooped up an inbounds pass right in front of the Wizards bench and sprinted from end to end drawing a foul with 0.4 seconds left on the clock.

No one thought Wall would be 100 percent, but the fact that he’s already got his best asset ramped up, his speed, is a very good sign for the Wizards; enough so that he was chasing down blocks and jumping into the crowd for loose balls.

Wall had his bounce tonight and looked to push the ball all evening. His midrange jumper wasn’t falling but that didn’t prevent him from attacking the hole. He was able to earn seven free throws in the first half and finished with nine for the game. His run outs also resulted in some wide-open jumpers in transition and a few showtime opportunities.

He had a few too many turnovers tonight (7), but Washington would surely welcome this John Wall in the playoffs.

Game Notes

Next up: The Wizards finish the regular season in Orlando on Wednesday night as they take on the Magic at 8 p.m.

Hawks at Wizards final score: Washington loses to Hawks 103-97, adding to the list of embarrassing defeats

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the Wizards lay another egg, this time to the Atlanta Hawks at home losing 103-97 on Friday night. Bradley Beal scored a game-high 32 points tonight but it didn’t matter on a night when the Wizards no-showed yet again to a sub .500 team.

After trailing for nearly the entire game, Washington was able to regain the lead by six, 93-87 on the heels of a personal 7-0 run from Bradley Beal. However, that quickly evaporated as the Hawks used a 12-0 run late in the fourth quarter to regain the lead and drop Washington to their latest embarrassing loss of the season.

No effort and no energy from the beginning

The Wizards couldn’t have cared less about tonight’s game – and you saw that right from the beginning. Washington played with no energy and even less urgency against a team compiled of rookies, G-League call-ups, and guys who you’ve probably never heard of before.

Washington found themselves down 11, 50-39 in the second quarter and you wondered if the rest of the Wizards team might pack it in for the evening like Markieff Morris did early in the game (he was ejected in the first quarter).

Save for a run where they took the lead midway through the fourth quarter, Washington looked like a team ready for the season to be over so they could hit the beach; not a team looking to hit its stride right before the playoffs.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the Wizards find a way to disappoint that much more. We’ve seen this movie before though.

Kelly Oubre finds his shot from three

Kelly Oubre’s struggles from three-point range have been well documented over the past six games. The third-year player connected on just 2-35 attempts from distance coming into tonight’s game.

After missing his first three-pointer of the night, Oubre connected on his next three and ended the night 3-7 from three-point range. It’s not like Oubre was lights out tonight, however, it was very relieving to see him knock down more three-pointers tonight than in the last six games combined.

As mentioned, Oubre isn’t completely out of his funk evidenced as he missed all six two-point attempts.

Next Up: Washington hosts the Boston Celtics in the final home game of the season.