The Washington Wizards couldn’t overcome a poor defensive start and lost the season series to Toronto in a 114-106 defeat on Friday night. The teams are tied again for third place in the Eastern Conference standings, but Toronto holds the tiebreaker if they finish the season with the same record.
John Wall was the only one to show up on the offensive side of the ball for D.C. in the first twelve minutes, scoring 16 of the team’s 27 points in the opening quarter as the Raptors opened up an eight point lead.
Things got worse when the reserves entered the game. The defense was extremely porous to open the second quarter, allowing the Raptors to reach the 50 point mark with 8:16 left in the quarter. After that, Washington recovered to get the game back to within single digits before the break but went into the half down 62-53.
Washington briefly took the lead late in the third quarter, but DeMar DeRozan responded with buckets on back-to-back possessions to give Toronto a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way. The Wizards cut the deficit down to three with 42 seconds left, but DeRozan struck again, burying his third three-pointer of the night to put the game away as Wizards fell for the third time in five games since the All-Star break.
Norman Powell and DeMar DeRozan combined for 53 points and 19 rebounds to carry the Raptors to victory. Wall finished the game with 30 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. Bradley Beal finished with 27 points and Otto Porter regained form to post 18 of his own.
John Wall the long range sniper?
The Wallstar opened the game 5-6 from the field, including a beautiful step back and three bombs from downtown. He looked so confident that Cory Joseph picked up a foul contesting a long two.
When do we see people running at John to contest a long jumper? He's forcing defenders to respect the range, showing constant attack mode. Wall finished the game 4-8 from three point range.
Third Quarter Momentum
The starters came out of the locker room at half raring to go from the momentum of the previous quarter. Wall was playing at an All-Defensive team level, swatting layups at will. He finished with three blocks on the night.
Welcome to D.C. Brandon
Brandon Jennings checked in very late in the first quarter to a standing ovation in the Verizon Center. His stint was not very successful on either end of the floor, as the team fell into a double-digit deficit while he was on the floor.
Wall had to go back into the game earlier than one would hope, as the offense sputtered out and the lead continued to grow. The bench showed they need time to mesh, as many new pieces come together.
The second unit has to figure out who the go-to scorer will be. Normally one starter remains as the primary playmaker, but that role has been assigned to Jennings. Success in the remaining regular season games will depend on the ability of Mahinmi, Jennings, Bogdonavic, and Oubre to find a rhythm together.