The Washington Wizards find themselves at the end of their preseason with a 4-3 record, and while it would be nice to end things with a win, tonight's game offered plenty of encouraging signs for the forthcoming season. The Wizards started the game out hot -- Gortat was scoring, Humph-threes was swishing, and Otto was defending. All looked well in La Ville Aux Cent Clochers (that's The City of One Hundred Steeples, for you non-Quebecois readers), as the Wizards ended the first quarter with a 28-21 lead.
Unfortunately for the Wizards however, the shots stopped falling, and the defense began to falter, and by halftime the Raptors were able to coast into the break with a one-point lead. The third quarter droughts we've unfortunately become used to as Wizards fans returned, and on the backs of Kyle Lowry and Demarre Carroll, the Raptors built an 11 point lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Wizards pulled their starters in the fourth quarter, and luckily for them, so did the Raptors. Kelly Oubre Jr. saved his best preseason game for last, leading the team down the stretch and coming up huge on both ends of the floor with timely, blocks, steals, and layups. Oubre and Josh Harrellson helped the Wizards got as close as five points, but unable to generate half-court offense, the Wizards lost this one in the final minutes, losing by 10 points.
A few notes:
- Good news: The Wizards put up 26 three-pointers tonight? Bad news: The Wizards made only five, good for a woeful 19.2 percent.
The Wizards defense did show up however, holding the Raptors to just 36 percent shooting. Demar DeRozan went 4-14, Kyle Lowry went 4-13, and Patrick Patterson went 0-7
Kelly Oubre Jr. had a great fourth quarter, and finally seems comfortable in an NBA offense. He struggled to score, but got to the basket with ease and defended very, very well. With Anderson out until the new year, the Wizards could do much worse at small forward.
Kris Humphries went 2-4 from three, and attacked the closeouts well, and was able to make the slow-footed Luis Scola pay for trying to run him off the three-point line.
The Wizards really missed Nene tonight. Drew Gooden is not an NBA center.
Gortat thrives as a roll man in this new system. With four players on the perimeter, he had plenty of room to generate efficient looks within the flow of the offense, finishing the night 6-10 for 16 points.
In #AccessoryWatch, John tried the headband in the first half, but ditched it by the start of the 3rd quarter, he probably knew it made him and Brad impossible to distinguish in standard-def.