There was a time in the not too distant past when games between the Wizards and Raptors were defined by whether or not Washington’s talent could overcome Toronto’s execution. On Friday, the Wizards had a good game plan. They pushed the pace, got up lots of quality shots attempts, and limited turnovers. They still lost by 18 to a Toronto team that was too talented, too deep, and just too good for Washington to handle.
The Wizards attempted 46 threes — a new franchise record — but only made 9 of them (19.6 percent) en route to a 125-107 loss. Every Wizard who played — including newcomer Okaro White — attempted at least one three, but Markieff Morris and Austin Rivers were the only Wizards who made more than one triple, and both of Rivers’ came after Scott Brooks waved the white flag and inserted the reserves for the final three minutes of the game.
Even though Washington fired at will, they struggled to get the ball to the shooters that needed it most. Otto Porter was 1-of-6 from deep. Bradley Beal was just 1-for-3 in 33 minutes of action. The Raptors dared John Wall, Kelly Oubre Jr., Markieff Morris, and Jeff Green to beat them. They accepted the challenge, but combined to go 3-of-24 from deep.
On the other side, the Raptors went back to what they did so well against Washington in the playoffs last season. They went 17-of-39 on threes (43.6 percent) and got contributions across the board. Nine of the ten Raptors who played at least five minutes made a three, including Kawhi Leonard who toyed with the Wizards on the way to 27 points and 10 rebounds in under 31 minutes of action.
Friday’s game served as the clearest example yet of what it looks like when a team is ahead of the curve and what it looks like when it isn’t.
Thomas Bryant isn’t your traditional starter — and that’s okay
Usually players who are on the floor for opening tip don’t get mop-up duty at the end of bowouts, but that’s the unique position Bryant is in right now with Dwight Howard out of the lineup and no other good options at center right now.
It makes sense for the Wizards to go small most of the time given their predicament, but Bryant has given Washington some solid play when called upon. He finished with 7 points and 8 rebounds in 17 minutes of action and the Wizards were only outscored by 2 when he was on the floor. He ran the floor well which gave John Wall options in transition and spaced with four 3-point attempts.
At this point, he’s probably the Wizards’ best true big man behind Dwight Howard when he’s healthy. He may not get a lot of time once Howard’s back, but he can serve as a nice change-of-pace player when the team stumbles out of the gates.
Next up: The Wizards are back in action Saturday night as they travel to New Orleans to face the Pelicans at 8 pm Eastern Time.