Wizards vs. Raptors final score: Washington falters without John Wall in 100-91 loss

Two weeks ago to the day, Washington went into Toronto and beat the Raptors without John Wall. The sequel would not be as enjoyable as the Wizards fall to the Raptors Sunday night, 100-91.

DeMar DeRozan led the way for the Raptors with 33 points as Toronto evened the season series with Washington.

John Wall sat this game out with swelling in his knee and the Wizards wouldn’t have the firepower late to keep up with the Raptors. The short-handed Wizards were competitive for most of the contest but ran out gas in the fourth quarter.

Bradley Beal scored 27 points (22 in the first half) while Marcin Gortat stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists.

Takeaways

Bradley Beal continues to score at a high rate

With John Wall out, the Wizards needed a big game from Bradley Beal to stay competitive tonight and he delivered. Bradley Beal scored 27 points on 11-23 shooting including going 5-9 from three-point range.

Beal was the primary option for the Wizards early on. The sharp-shooter scored 12 points for Washington in the first quarter on 5-8 shooting and outside of a mini spark from Kelly Oubre, was Washington’s only scoring threat in the first half.

Bradley Beal cooled off in the second half as he scored just five points (and was held scoreless in the fourth quarter), totaling 27 for the night.

Points in the paint and offensive rebounding doomed Washington in the first half

These things tend to go hand-in-hand – when you give up offensive rebounds, that usually leads to easy baskets for the other squad. That was the case for the Raptors who destroyed Washington on the offensive glass this evening, especially in the first half.

In just the first half alone, Toronto grabbed eight offensive rebounds and made Washington pay. Jonas Valnciunas grabbed two offensive boards in the first half and flipped up the missed shots for easy baskets in the lane. Already a great scorer, the ball often found it’s way to DeMar DeRozan on these second-chance opportunities as he also had too many easy baskets around the hole.

As a result, the Raptors had nine more shots (51-42) than Washington in the first half.

Free-throw shooting plagues the Wizards

Was this the only reason Washington lost? No. However, it’s pretty concerning that this is something we have to talk about after nearly every game. Washington was 11-19 (57.9 percent) from the charity stripe this evening. Jodie Meeks knocked down 5-6 attempts and was the only Wizards player to have a respectable showing from the line.

Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Mike Scott, and Tim Frazier combined to shoot less than 50 percent from the line whereas neither Beal, Gortat, or Morris even attempted a free-throw tonight.

Game Notes

  • Washington shot better from three-point range (8-13) than they did from the free-throw line (5-11) in the first half.
  • Markieff Morris took a shot to the face diving for a loose ball in the first quarter. Morris looked to be shaken up but didn’t miss any time. Morris took yet another shot in the second half when he got sandwiched going up for a loose ball. Again, he played through it.
  • Kelly Oubre connected on 2-3 shots of the catch-and-shoot variety but was 0-4 from the field when trying to create his own shot.

Next up: The Wizards will be back in action on Monday as they head to Milwaukee to take on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.

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Wizards at Raptors final score: Beal scores 38 as the Wizards get rare road win in Toronto

Washington has had trouble against Toronto in the regular season in years past. But that didn’t matter tonight as a shorthanded Wizards team goes into Toronto and comes away with the victory, 107-96.

Bradley Beal scored a game-high 38-points to cap off a week in which he averaged 38 per game. Otto Porter was his usual efficient self, scoring 19 points including a big three-pointer to put the Wizards up 103-88 late in the fourth quarter.

Marcin Gortat notched another double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds while Kelly Oubre Jr. added 10 points off the Wizards bench.

On paper, this looked like a loss as the Wizards just lost a heart-breaker to the Cavs and were playing without All-Star John Wall, who sat out with a shoulder injury. But everyone chipped in just enough as the Wizards come away with the win.

Bradley Beal continues his hot shooting

Bradley Beal’s effort in the Cleveland game was overshadowed by LeBron’s 57 points. He won’t be forgotten after tonight. As mentioned, Beal scored 38 points on 16-26 shooting (62 percent) including going 4-6 (66 percent) from three-point range. The sharpshooter wasn’t just settling for jumpers though. Beal was getting to the rim on give-and-go’s with Gortat resulting in layups as well as creating his own shot off the dribble.

With the absence of Wall, Beal found the ball in his hands more often tonight. Not only was Beal getting his baskets, but he was good as a facilitator ending the night with four assists. His most important dime came late in the fourth quarter as he found a wide-open Oubre in the corner for three to give Washington a 100-87 lead.

Beal was absolutely terrific tonight capping off the best week of his career.

Washington was solid from three-point range

After a nice three-point shooting output against Phoenix, the Wizards shooting from range plummeted from distance against the Cavs. So it was nice to see Washington get back in a rhythm from three-point range. Porter, Beal, and Oubre were the sharpshooters tonight as the trio combined to go 9-15 from range this evening.

Washington was knocking down threes early on to build on their lead, while each of the three guys knocked down three-pointers late to seal the game.

Rotations are still a mystery

Even though the Wizards were short-handed, Scott Brooks opted to go with all-bench lineups in the second and fourth quarters. To no one’s surprise, that didn’t really work out. In the second quarter, both teams were playing very sloppily so it didn’t cost Washington. However, in the fourth quarter, the bench allowed the Raptors back in this one to trim the lead to three at one point. Brooks was then forced to play Porter and Beal the rest of the way.

Tip Ins

  • Kyle Lowry was ejected from the game with two quick technical fouls in the second quarter. Lowry thought he got fouled on a play then said the magic words to the officials which got him tossed.
  • Tim Frazier was just ok in his relief for Wall. Frazier wasn’t much of a scoring threat as he only scored four points but chipped in with eight assists.
  • Markieff Morris continued to knock the rust off with 18 minutes of playing time. Morris scored 10 points even though he was just 2-8 from the field. However, he did knock down 6-8 free throws.

Up Next

Washington heads home to take on the lowly Dallas Mavericks Tuesday evening.

Raptors vs. Wizards: DeRozan’s 32 too much to overcome, Wiz fall, 114-106.

DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 32 points with two threes coming in crunch time as the Raptors beat the Wizards 114-106. Four of the Wizards five starters scored in double figures led by John Wall with 30 and Bradley Beal with 27 but it wasn’t enough as Washington dug themselves into a 19-point hole and couldn’t climb their way out.

John Wall was on fire in the first quarter connecting on his first three three-pointers of the game and 5-7 field goals overall. Unfortunately, the rest of the Wizards were not hitting their field goals. Wall scored 16 points on 5-8 shooting in the first quarter but the rest of the team went just 2-12 from the field as the Wizards were down 35-27 after one.

Things stayed ugly in the second quarter. The reserves couldn’t get anything going offensively and scored just two points through the first three minutes of the second period. Washington found themselves down 50-31 midway through the second quarter forcing Scott Brooks to burn yet another timeout. The Wizards were able to counter and cut the lead to six but still trailed by nine, 62-53 at halftime.

The teams traded baskets for most of the third period but it was Washington who took their first lead of the game since the first quarter, 72-71 late in the third quarter. DeMar DeRozan had and answer, though. DeRozan continued to hit tough bucket after tough bucket to keep the lead with Toronto. But the Wizards trailed by just one, entering the fourth quarter.

Whenever the Wizards would pull close, Norman Powell answered with big buckets. Powell scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter including timely baskets when the Raptors needed them most. Then, DeRozan hit two tough threes for the Raptors to ice this game.

Wizards fall, 114-106, Toronto takes the season series, 2-1.

No help from the bench tonight

After scoring 45 points in Toronto on Wednesday night, the bench combined for just 14 points tonight. Bogdanovic never got going and outside of a few putbacks from Mahinmi, there wasn’t much to speak of from the reserves tonight. Brandon Jennings got 10 minutes of playing time tonight in his first game as a Wizard but went 0-3 from the field.

Wizards have no answer for DeRozan

The Wizards threw many guys at DeRozan but ultimately, he was just too much. The All-Star scored 32 points on 10-17 shooting and knocked down a season-high three three-pointers. DeRozan was able to back down and shoot over whoever was guarding him and hit two threes late to put a dagger in the Wizards comeback chances.

Washington’s bench combines for 45 as they beat Toronto, 105-96.

What bench issues? Bojan Bogdanovic leads the Wizards with 27 points and the bench combines for 45 points as the Wizards beat the Raptors, 105-96. Four of the five Wizards’ starters scored in double-figures led by Bradley Beal with 23 points while John Wall notched yet another double-double with 12 points and 13 assists as the Wizards complete one of their best back-to-back stretches in recent memory.

The Wizards showed no signs of tired legs as they connected on six of their first nine field goals to take an early 19-11 lead. Even though both Wall and Beal both started 3-3 respectively from the field, they couldn’t stop the Raptors from scoring. Toronto ended the quarter on a 15-5 run and for the first time in 16 games, the Wizards were not leading or tied after one period as they trailed 26-24.

But then the often-criticized bench came in and lit the world on fire. Washington connected on their first nine shots of the second period en route to a 26-1 run all thanks to the bench. Bogdanovic was instant offense knocking down three three-pointers in the quarter while Jason Smith who looked to have fallen out of the rotation, came in and knocked down four field goals in the period. Mahinmi was rock solid on the defensive end with several blocks and big time rebounds as the Wizards blew the lead out to 23, 50-27 late in the second.

However, Toronto showed a bit of life and was able to trim the lead to 16, 62-46 at halftime.

Washington picked up where they left off starting the second half on a 7-0 run as Toronto missed their first nine field goals of the second half. The Wizards themselves started to cool off midway through the third period but Brooks inserted Bogdanovic to cure all that. Bogey hit his first three of the second half to stretch the lead back out to a comfortable 20 point cushion as the Wizards led by 22 entering the fourth quarter.

Things got a tad too close for comfort as the Raptors were able to cut the lead to single digits late in the fourth quarter but John Wall reminded us why he’s one of a kind blocking Serge Ibaka at the top of the mountain.

Wizards win in a very impressive fashion, 105-96.

Bench provides huge boost

As mentioned, the bench combined for 45 points tonight in what was collectively their best effort of the season. Even though this was just Bogdanovic’s fourth game with the Wizards, the other guys around him contributed as well. Smith was a perfect 4-4 in the second quarter While Kelly Oubre Jr. scored seven points and played some nice defense on DeMar DeRozan. Ian Mahinmi continues to produce on the defensive end as he chipped in with five rebounds and three blocked shots.

The Wizards continue to gain more firepower as Brandon Jennings signed with the team just prior to the game.

A professional win

It wouldn’t have been super surprising if the Wizards were to come out flat in this game after a toe-to-toe game against the Golden Warriors just 24 hours ago. But they showed up and took it to a team who they were previously tied with in the standings. Also, on a night when Otto Porter struggled, his teammates were there to cover for him as the ever so solid Morris and Gortat combined for 25 points and 16 rebounds.

The Raptors drop the Wizards to 0-3 behind 40 points from DeRozan

John Wall scored 33 points to go along with 11 assists but it wouldn’t be enough as the Raptors beat the Wizards, 113-103, behind 40 points from DeMar DeRozan. The loss is a pretty upsetting considering Marcin Gortat was calling the home opener a “must win” game.

Unlike the first two games, the Wizards got out to an early 27-15 lead in this one behind the hot shooting from Bradley Beal. But lo and behold, the bench would come in and the lead would quickly shrink to two, 29-27 at the end of the first quarter.

Otto Porter scored 23 points to go along with 13 rebounds highlighted by a series in the second quarter where he scored on three straight cuts to the basket. Even with the poor play from the bench, the Wizards still led, 56-54 at halftime.

DeMar DeRozan was unstoppable tonight and did plenty of damage in the third quarter where he scored 15 of his game-high 40 points. Neither Bradley Beal nor Otto Porter had an answer for him on defense.

The Wizards held tough though.

The Wizards stayed in this one due to the play of John Wall. Wall picked Lowry’s pocket and took it coast to coast for a layup to tie the game at 92 midway through the fourth quarter.

The Wizards wouldn’t have an answer as DeRozan would hit several key shots down the stretch to propel the Raptors to victory, 113-103.

Three Things:

Three-point shooting remains a problem:

The Wizards were just 3-10 from three-point range tonight with all of their deep balls coming in the first half. Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris were the only Wizards players to make a three-pointer tonight. The Wizards continue to shoot fewer three’s this year and are making them at a lower rate.

Turnovers:

The Wizards committed 20 turnovers including nine from John Wall. Many of the turnovers tonight were on cross-court and lazy passes. In reality, the Wizards probably had no business being in this game with their 20 turnovers.

Otto Porter played great tonight:

Otto scored 23 points on 11-13 shooting with one of his misses coming on a desperation three as the game was already out of hand. Otto did most of his damage in the paint tonight and specifically, on cuts to the basket. Wall was able to find Otto, and Otto converted. Let’s hope he can continue this type of play going forward.

A way too early ranking of the Eastern Conference

Last week we took a look at how the teams stack up early in the Southeast Division.

Now let’s see how the entire Eastern Conference stacks up now that free agency is in the rearview mirror.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs just won the championship. Cleveland just re-signed LeBron James to a three-year deal. Not much else to discuss here. Let’s keep moving.

2. Toronto Raptors

The Raptors are here by default. After making their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance in team history, the Raptors are looking to build on that momentum to carry them even further. They re-signed All-Star DeMar DeRozan to a five-year $145 million dollar year to keep the dynamic backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeRozan intact.

Bismack Biyombo played out of his mind during the playoffs earning him a large payday but with the Orlando Magic. Many think that Biyombo’s departure could potentially set the Raptors back. I disagree. Biyombo is a backup center and a rim protector. He averaged 5.5 points and eight rebounds during the regular season but those numbers jumped 6.2 points and 9.4 rebounds during the postseason. Biyombo is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end but is very limited on the offensive end. He’s a classic energy guy who happened to explode on a national stage at the right time. Yes, they’ll miss his defensive presence and shot-blocking; it’s just, I don’t think that’s enough to set the entire team back.

The Raptors replaced Biyombo with the acquisition of Jared Sullinger. As a starter last season, Sullinger averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Celtics. However this year, he’s expected to come off of the bench for the Raptors. Sullinger’s playing style is the opposite of Biyombo. Sullinger is shorter in stature but throws his weight around to gain position in the paint. Sullinger can stretch the floor and is effective in doing so as he shot 44.1 percent from shots 5-9 feet from the basket and 44.9 percent on shots 20-24 feet from the hoop.

He isn’t a great three-point shooter but is capable of knocking them down as he shot a modest 28.2 percent from distance last season which is better than most centers.

The Raptors did what they had to do to stay at the top of the Eastern Conference. They may not scare Cleveland, but keeping DeRozan and other key players intact will make them a force to be reckoned with next season.

3. Boston Celtics

The Celtics return four of their five starters from last season. They upgraded at the center position in acquiring Al Horford to fill the void left by Jared Sullinger. Although Horford is 30 years old, the former All-Star is an instant upgrade over Sullinger as he averaged more points (15.2), shot better from the field (50.5 percent), and shot better from three-point range (34.4 percent).

Plug in rookie Jaylen Brown and now the Celtics have another long wing to go alongside Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko, and Gerald Green.

Additionally, according to ESPN.com, the Celtics are projected to have the easiest schedule in the league next season.

This team still lacks an “alpha dog” as I don’t believe Isaiah Thomas has reached that level yet. However, they still have a very good roster and one of the top coaches in the NBA. The arrow continues to point up for this team.

4. Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers didn’t get much publicity but positioned themselves very well for next season. The Pacers upgraded at point guard acquiring Indianapolis native Jeff Teague from the Atlanta Hawks in a three-team trade. Teague and Hill shot almost identical shooting percentages from three-point range and from the field, however,Teague averaged more points (15.7) and assists (5.9).

Us Wizards fans know that Ian Mahinmi is now gone from the Pacers. The Pacers seem very pleased and confident to move forward with second-year player Myles Turner at center and they also signed a Swiss Army Knife player in Thaddeus Young.

The Pacers secured up the center position with Al Jefferson and it’s very clear that Paul George is back to his superstar ways. The Pacers do have a new coach in Nate McMillan to get used to, however; this team looks poised to take a step forward after getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

5. Detroit Pistons

The Pistons bring back essentially the same roster that they had last season after re-signing All-Star center Andre Drummond. In somewhat of an under the radar move, the Pistons acquired Boban Marjanovic from the Spurs to play the backup center position. He is still somewhat of an unknown as he didn’t get too much playing time in San Antonio, however, he’s coming from the best culture in the NBA and will practice against one of the best centers in the NBA in Andre Drummond.

Tobias Harris and Marcus Morris will now have the entire offseason to get acclimated with the team rather than learning on the fly in just 30 games prior to the postseason. The Pistons have a nice core of players and young guys such as Stanley Johnson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who should continue to get better with time.

Expect a big step forward from the Pistons this season.

6. Charlotte Hornets

The losses of Jeremy Lin, Al Jefferson and Courtney Lee sting; No doubt about it. But as Kemba Walker enters his sixth NBA season, I feel that he’s on the verge of a breakout year. Walker scored a career-best 20.9 points last season. After getting snubbed from the All-Star game, Walkers’ numbers ballooned to 25.2 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.6 rebounds in the three weeks afterward. Walker has had his superstar moments evidenced by his 52-point game against the Jazz last season. We’ve seen Walker perform at All-Star levels in stretches; now’s the time where he does it for an entire season.

Outside of Walker, the Hornets kept many key guys intact by re-signing Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist still around along with young, fresher guys in Cody Zeller, Frank Kaminsky, and Jeremy Lamb to round out the roster. That’s enough to make the Hornets the early favorites to win the Southeast division.

7. Washington Wizards

The Wizards return their starting five (after the All-Star game) from last season. The big X-factor this season will be Bradley Beal. Will he stay healthy? That’s the $128 million dollar question. Although he feels his injury woes are behind him, the elephant in the room will remain until Beal proves that he can stay healthy as the four-year player averages just 62 games played per season in his short four-year career.

Another uncertainty for the Wizards is Otto Porter’s development. He has continued to develop over the past three seasons, however if the Wizards are going to be relevant in the playoff race again, they’ll need Porter to take yet another step forward. He needs to continue to increase his scoring as the front office is all in on him and Kelly Oubre at the small forward position.

John Wall on the mend from knee surgery and Bradley Beal’s health are a constant question mark, so if Porter can take on more of a scoring load for this team early; that will pay dividends down the road.

8. Miami Heat

Let me preface this by saying this ranking assumes Chris Bosh DOESN’T play next season.

The Heat lost key players in Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, and Joe Johnson to free agency. That hurts. The team will now be counting on Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and up and comer Justice Winslow to carry the torch for this team.

The Heat should be just fine defensively as Eric Spoelstra is known for his defensive schemes however the offense is another question. Hassan Whiteside is limited offensively, the team replaced Wade with Dion Waiters, but will count on Goran Dragic to carry the scoring load. Dragic has averaged 20 points for a season just once in his career and if the Heat are going to be competitive this year, he’ll need to do that again.

The wildcard here is Chris Bosh. As mentioned, Bosh has been dealing with blood clots over the past two years causing him to miss 67 games over the past two seasons. If Bosh is cleared to play and can stay healthy, that should be enough for the Heat to make the playoffs. If he can’t, the Heat will probably be on the outside looking in.

9. Chicago Bulls

Will the Bulls make any three-pointers next year? It can be assumed that Rondo, Wade, and Butler will be starting at the point guard, shooting guard, and small forward positions. None of them shoot threes very well. That leaves Nikola Mirotic, the team’s power forward, as the Bulls’ best three-point option.

10. Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks lost Jeff Teague and Al Horford in the offseason. Yes, they signed Dwight Howard but he has proven that he’s not the easiest teammate to play with. In addition, Dennis Schroder will now be counted on to lead this team. There’re too many unknowns right now. Expect the Hawks to fall out of the playoffs.

11. New York Knicks

Derrick Rose was right. The Knicks did form a “Super-Team”…… if the year was 2011. The Knicks should have an improved record now that there’s more talent surrounding Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. It’s just the players they signed in Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Courtney Lee are injury prone or are already past their prime.

12. Milwaukee Bucks

I thought the Bucks would break out last year but they didn’t. They have youth, size, athleticism, and a good coach (so we think). They fooled me last year. Now I need to see the improvement to believe it.

13. Orlando Magic

The Magic added size and athleticism in the offseason. Bismack Biyombo and Serge Ibaka are good players; however, scoring is not their strong suit. Scoring for this team will be difficult.

14. Philadelphia 76ers

They went 10-72 last season and drafted the preseason favorite for rookie of the year in Ben Simmons. Can only go up from here, right?

15. Brooklyn Nets

Close your eyes Nets’ fans.

Wizards vs. Raptors final score: Toronto drops the Washington, 106-89

The Wizards wasted a 14 assist game from John Wall and fell to the Raptors, 106-89. With the win, the Raptors completed a regular season sweep of the Wizards and are now riding a nine-game win streak.

John Wall led the way for the Wizards in a somewhat quiet 18 point, 14-assist night. Otto Porter had a solid night with 15 points and eight rebounds. Outside of those two, there wasn’t much to celebrate from this Wizards team.

This was a game of runs early as the Raptors stretched the lead out to 14 early in the second quarter. The Wizards bounced back and cut the lead to seven highlighted by Wall running the one man fast break going end to end to get easy layups at the rim.

Back-to-back threes from Temple and Porter cut the Raptors lead down to three as the Wizards trailed, 53-50 at halftime.

DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry got hot in the third quarter but the Wizards had no answer on defense. The two combined for 46 points tonight going 6-12 from three-point range.

In maybe the oddest substitution so far this season, Wittman brought in Drew Gooden for Nene midway through the third quarter opting to keep Dudley on the bench. However, the Wizards were able to stay within striking distance as they were down just seven, 77-70 entering the fourth quarter.

That’s when things fell apart. The Wizards went cold from the field, tired legs from a back-to-back, and the wheels started getting wobbly on the wagon.

DeMar DeRozan sliced into the lane and got fouled to stretch the Raptors lead out to 16. The Wizards had no more runs left and waived the white flag at the three-minute mark. Raptors win 106-89.

Fourth quarter collapse: In a game that felt like the Wizards should be down 20, they found themselves within striking distance down by just 7, 77-70 entering the fourth quarter. Shots stopped falling for the Wizards as they didn’t knock down their first field goal of the quarter until Dudley hit a corner three at the 6:45 mark. Tired legs from a back-to-back, frustration from a struggling team, head scratching lineups, you name it. The Wizards hit just five field goals in the quarter (two coming in garbage time) as the Raptors blew the doors off early in the fourth quarter.

Playing Gortat and Nene at the same time has to stop: For the third straight game, Randy Wittman opted to start Nene at the power forward position and bring Dudley off the bench. Nene and Gortat were on the floor at the same time for 12 minutes (6 minutes in first quarter, 6 minutes in third quarter) and all it really did was clog things up and slow down the pace of the game. There is no spacing when both players are on the floor at the same time and the ball sticks whenever the ball is dumped into Nene in the post. When Dudley came in (and even Gooden), the spacing improved immediately. It’s clear; the Nene-Gortat experiment has run its course and isn’t going to help this team win.

Otto Porter Doesn’t Skip a Beat: In Porter’s second game back since returning from injury, Porter notched 15 points, eight rebounds, and four steals. Porter went 5-6 from the field (7-11 overall) in the first half with his only miss coming on a herky-jerky layup which is usually his patented finish around the rim. Porter was no slouch on defense as he spent a majority of the night guarding a combination of DeMar DeRozan, James Jones, Patrick Patterson, and Terrance Ross. Games like tonight remind Wizards fans how much of a key piece Porter is to this team even when things aren’t going well.