Here is your recap roundup for Monday's 90-84 Washington Wizards win over the Toronto Raptors. As you'll see, the Raptors have become the latest team mystified that they lost to these Wizards. Maybe it's no longer such a big mystery.
"The game is slowing down for me, so I am making easier reads," Beal said. "I was just letting the game come to me. I wasn't forcing anything. You just have to stick with it when you have games like this."
Beal has held or shared the team lead in scoring in all four games since the all-star break, posting at least 20 points in three of them.
"The kid is balling. His sense of urgency for the game is immaculate right now," Martell Webster said after scoring 12 points. "He has a great rhythm and I hope he keeps riding."
While making his way to speak to reporters on Monday before the Wizards took on the Toronto Raptors, Coach Randy Wittman tripped over some cords in the locker room and nearly hurt himself. Of course, tripped is describing it lightly.
"He did a triple jump," Nene said afterward.
When Wittman returned to the locker room to make his final preparations for the game, his players decided to make light of his mishap. They greeted him with four bright orange cones surrounding the loose wires. Handwritten signs read, "Coach's tripping area," and "Danger!!! Help Coach watch out for cords."
We're watching a star grow in front of our eyes. I've never seen a player develop so quickly, all because of his increased confidence. Beal truly is the real deal. He did it all tonight. When the Wizards needed a bucket, Beal gave them a bucket. When they needed someone to create a shot, Beal created a shot. He's starting to hit the three ball with ease, shooting over 50 percent from beyond the arc in 2013. Beal scored a array of buckets, resulting into 20 points. Coming out of college, I didn't think Beal was that great of an isolation player or play maker. Tonight, Beal hit shots off the dribble and his movement without the ball has been amazing. I hope you all tuned into the Bradley Beal show.
I admired Washington's resiliency in this game. With so many things going wrong early, and Toronto's ability to score, the outcome could have been very different.
Both Wall and Nene had very frustrating first halves, but they came back to play key roles in Washington holding the lead. Nene, plagued by very poor shooting to start, very effectively scored in the post late, including and and-1 on a blind layup toss while driving along the baseline.
Look, we all know that this was a game we should have won. We're running out of games to make that final push for allusive eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, so victories against lesser competition are all the more important.
Let's give some credit where credit is due though to Washington. They've now won three in a row and seven of their last ten to improve to 18-37 on the year. This was just their fifth road win all season long. They could prove to be a potential spoiler to a lot of playoff-bound teams over the next month or so.
Dwane Casy said it best postgame, describing this game as "a stinker."
Neither team deserved to win, but of course, someone had to win, and the Wizards managed to come out on top. After a poor first half, the Raptors made a late game surge, and were within striking distance of the Wizards in the final minutes. The Wizards were able to keep the Raptors from completing the comeback, as they played tough defense down the stretch.
"Why we wouldn't have that [sense of urgency] at this time of the year, given what we're fighting for, scratching for and what we've been through, is shocking to me," Casey said.
Unable to make a bevy of uncontested shots, the Raptors should have relied on some grit and grind and found a way to steal a win when things weren't going their way.
They went exactly the other way, capitulating all over the floor and allowing the Washington Wizards to come into the Air Canada Centre and pretty much dominate every facet of the game in a 90-84 victory Monday night.
In a week that could very well doom or strengthen what are some very slim playoff hopes for the Raptors, the Washington Wizards arrived in Toronto and threw a rather large wrench in the works. The Raps began the night four games out of a playoff spot and bursting with momentum after some big road wins this month and a total of six victories in their past seven games. It all came crashing to a halt, for now at least, courtesy of a Wizards team with nothing to lose, that came into Toronto having won all of three games on the road this season, but made it four with a 90-84 win.
The Raptors locker room was dead silent. The feeling of disappointment and frustration was displayed on each face as the team dressed and filed out of the Air Canada Centre hoping to put Monday's lackluster effort behind them. The vibe was powerful and hardly surprising following an unexpected loss, 90-84, to the lowly albeit streaking Washington Wizards (18-37). They have experienced defeat before - now 34 times this season, to be exact - but this one was different and so was the post-game vibe.
If it wasn't for DeMar DeRozan's 25 points on 9-for-17 shooting, the final outcome would have been even uglier.
"I thought DeMar had that sense of urgency," Casey said. "Why we would not have that at this time of the year with what we are fighting for, what we are scratching for, and what we have been through is shocking to me. I told the guys, and they feel bad about it. "We have time, but we do not have a lot. We have to be in desperate mode. We do not want to be in a tight, worried-and-scared-to-play mode, but a desperate, hit first, and I-am-going-to-get-to-the-floor-first mode."
If the Raptors (23-34) hope to make a serious run they cannot afford to put up ragged displays like Monday's against the Wizards (18-37), who walked away with a 90-84 victory. It was an excruciating night of basketball, especially on behalf of the Raptors, who seemed to be listless participants playing without any sense of urgency.
What I'm getting at is that despite having decent offensive players in Lowry, DeRozan, Bargnani, and Gay (leave aside his horrid shot-selection for a bit), we've been unable to muster up any sort of consistent offense. Since Gay's arrival, the team is shooting 43%, whereas before he got here they were at 44%. So basically there's been little improvement. Now I realize FG% isn't everything and that some of you are of the advanced stats frame of mind. So let's look at the hallowed TS%. Since the Rudy Gay trade the Raptors TS% stands at 52.6%, prior to that it was 53.1%. Further confirmation that despite some late-game heroics, the offense has really remained the same, if not slightly stagnated. This is consistent with the eye-test of watching the team play. Rudy Gay's heroics in stretches (late against Indiana, third quarter against New York) are well and good, but it tends to deflect attention away from the larger problem that the Raptors run an isolation-heavy offense with not nearly enough three-point shooting to space the floor.
Rudy Gay had a nonchalant attitude in this game from the opening whistle. He wasn't looking for his own shot, he only turned the corner on one screen in the entire first half (resulted in free throws), he threw very lazy passes and he didn't look focused at all on defence. One play that really irritated me happened midway through the second quarter - Rudy turned over the ball and started jogging back towards his own basket. Amir Johnson was a good 5 feet behind Rudy when both turned to get back on defence. When Amir reached Toronto's basket, Rudy was 10 feet behind him. Trevor Ariza (Rudy's check) finished the play with a layup. Only turning it on for the 2nd half/4th quarter, is not a recipe for becoming a great NBA player. Rudy's lone field goal - a dunk early in the fourth quarter - just served as a reminder of how easy the game CAN be for him.