Here's your recap roundup for the Tuesday's 96-88 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Be sure to check out our StoryStream as well as postgame interviews with Randy Wittman, John Wall, Bradley Beal and Martell Webster, courtesy of Monumental Network.
A malfunction of the scoring system Tuesday night at Verizon Center forced the Washington Wizards to go back to the old-school days of high school basketball, with 24-second shot clocks placed on the baseline and a game clock propped up high in front of the scorer's table.
The breakdown in technology wasn't all that went haywire for the Wizards during a 96-88 loss to Toronto in the Wizards' first game after a five-day all-star break. John Wall was off-target with his shot and his passes, the offense sputtered and the defense had little answer for the Raptors' perimeter combination of Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan.
The rust bothered the Wizards more than the lack of modern technology. Wall (nine points, six assists, seven turnovers) never found his rhythm and despite three steals and two blocks couldn't make up for his litany of mistakes.
"It's really mental with John," Beal said. "John wants to play well every game. Like he always tells me, I'm not going to play well every game. The advice he gave me, sometimes he can take his own advice."
Rookie Bradley Beal, back in the starting lineup for the first time since taking time off to heal a sprained right wrist, scored 25 points for the Wizards, who had won eight of nine at home. Third-year point guard John Wall shot 1 for 12 from the field and committed seven turnovers in one of his most forgettable games as a pro.
''I'll burn it, burn it and look forward to the next one,'' Wall said. ''It's the first game back after the break.''
Deep in the heart of Wizard-dom, a cry arose, and the people made their futile plea: "JOR-DAN CRAW-FORD." Fans were agitated, effort was minimal, and there sat Crawford, leaned way back, gettin' his Eskimo on. Fans get restless when effort and execution are lacking, so let's drive the point home with a lip-read of Bradley Beal. With less than a minute left, and the Wizards almost completely out of it, Beal was spotted saying: "Why the **** are we giving up?"
"I think as a team and as an individual, you have to be mentally tough to be able to say, ‘Okay, what else can I do to impact the game,'" Beal said. "I think that's what I learned early in the year. I did the same thing. When I have bad games now, I still get frustrated, but I just play. If I'm not making shots, I'll just play good defense. There's always things in a game that you can do."
Meanwhile, Beal is emerging not just as Wall's running mate in the backcourt but his equal and potentially even more. He was angry and frustrated at the end of the game and wasn't afraid to say so afterward. That speaks as loud as his scoring.
As bad as the Wizards played they were within five points with five minutes remaining. Bradley Beal was the lone bright spot scoring a game high 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting. Late in the fourth quarter Beal was visibly upset with his teammates for not picking up their full court defense and at 19-years old he's holding them accountable.
I'll start on the positive side, which was basically Bradley Beal. After returning to the starting lineup, Beal scored 25 points and grabbed 4 rebounds, and looked very good overall. He shot the ball well of the dribble and didn't hesitate to penetrate the basket when given the opportunity. Above all, Beal looked like a leader. There were reports of Beal going after his teammates for "giving up" during timeouts, which consequently helped boost Washington's level of aggressiveness on the defensive end of the floor. When times got tough, Beal showed up to relieve some of Washington's stress.
Jordan Crawford did have an off night in a completely different sense. Given another "DNP-Coach's Decision", Crawford spent the entire night on the bench with a 45-degree body lean wrapped in towels from head to toe. He looked like a young Bulldog whose owner had abandoned him in the D.C. pound after finding a shinier, more reliable German Shepherd. Crawford didn't give any time to the media last night, strolling out before the locker room opened, and Wittman didn't have any comment on the situation other than that every guy has to wait their turn in the rotation.
The game was a unique one as the scoreboard and clocks were not working, so a makeshift scoreboard was set up by the scorer's table. The PA announcer let the teams know when the shot clock was winding down. The Raptors would have the upper hand early as they opened up an eight point lead after the first quarter, holding the Wizards to just 19. That eight point first quarter deficit would prove to be the difference as the game was played to a draw the rest of the way, with the Raptors ending with the eight point margin of victory. The Wizards would cut the lead to as few as four in the fourth quarter but would never get closer.
"Listen, it's going to be hard for us, the way our team's made up to win games that way," Head Coach Randy Wittman said after the game. "We tried to keep making a push, but offensively, you're right, we just never got into a flow, rhythm all night long. And we paid for it."
Beal and Martell combined for 41 of the 88 Wizard points. The third pick in this year's draft tallied 25 points after going 3 of 6 from 3-point land and Martell poured in 16 points while shooting 3 of 5 from downtown. Outside of those two the Wiz shot 16 of 50 from the field, which translates to 32%, which also translates to a loss. And to top it off we got to witness what is surely to be the last time Steez wears a Wizards jersey. After pouting on the end of the bench the entire game with a towel over his head, Jordan Crawford threw his jersey in the crowd on his walk off the court. If that's not a signal for the end, I don't know what is.
Frankly, against most other NBA teams tonight, I doubt this would have been a Raptors' win. The team was good in stretches, but awful in others, including to end the game, where they made some bizarre and lackadaisical decisions with the ball, allowing the Wizards to hang around.
Coming off the all-star break the Raptors know the offence wouldn't be quite as crisp as it had been going into it and came out prepared to put the emphasis on stopping Washington first.
The game plan played out to perfection with the Wizards shooting just 39% from the field and point guard John Wall, the guy whose return has sparked the Wizards offence, held to just nine points on 1-of-12 shooting.
I said in the preview that John Wall would be the focal point of the Wizard offense, and it's not surprising the Raptors came out on top given Wall's play. The third-year guard out of Kentucky shot just 1-of-12 from the floor and committed 7 turnovers. The Wizards as a team shot just 38.5 percent.