Marcin Gortat set the early tone for Washington by scoring or assisting on the team’s first three shots and getting Jonas Valanciunas into early foul trouble. The Wizards quickly raced out to an early 14-point lead midway through the first quarter.
The Raptors’ bench got them back in the game, ripping off a 24-8 run to recapture the lead early in the second quarter. Toronto put more of a focus on stopping the Wizards at the point of attack, and threw Washington’s offense out of sync. Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier finished the half with seven turnovers and Washington only scored 26 points over the final 17 minutes of the first half.
Washington simplified their approach in the second half, straying away from their pass-happy approach to exploit their one-on-one mismatches. Otto Porter led the charge, scoring 13 points in the third quarter as the fought back from a nine point deficit to take the lead late in the third quarter.
Otto Porter with the spin! pic.twitter.com/aECaj8q2pg— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) March 3, 2018
Toronto’s bench quickly reversed the momentum Washington picked up during Porter’s takeover as C.J. Miles got hot. He hit two threes in the final minute of the third quarter and hit three more in the fourth to help thwart Washington’s last-ditch efforts to pull out the win.
Washington finishes their season series 2-2 with Toronto, which is a pretty remarkable feat considering John Wall wasn’t able to play a single minute against the Raptors this season.
Washington’s bench is showing more cracks
The Wizards’ bench has been tolerable most of the season, but their deficiencies were on full display in this game against arguably the best bench in the league. The Raptors’ bench outscored Washington 50-15.
Kelly Oubre had a rough shooting night, going 2-of-8 from the field and 1-of-6 from deep, and he didn’t get any support from the rest of the unit. Tim Frazier and Jodie Meeks were overwhelmed by Toronto’s ball pressure and only combined to take three shots. Ian Mahinmi picked up three fouls in under six minutes in the first half, which led to Jason Smith getting some rare playing time.
Mike Scott was just 1-of-4 shooting and didn’t bring anything else to the table, other than a bad turnover in the second half. He hasn’t had a double-digit scoring game since February 10, and the effect of his slump is starting to affect the rest of the unit.
Washington doesn’t need their bench to do a lot come playoff time, but they need something. If Scott can’t turn things around, Washington will face the same questions around their bench that they faced at this time last season.
Washington dominates the glass
The Wizards did a lot of great work on the glass this evening, sending multiple bodies to corral rebounds and keep Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas from creating many second chance opportunities. Seven different Wizards grabbed at least five rebounds.
What’s especially interesting is that it’s been a trend throughout their four games this season. Washington outrebounded Toronto by at least 10 boards in three of their four meetings this season. If Washington has to face Toronto in the playoffs, it’s something they can hang their hat on.
- Scott Brooks heard the pleas of the masses and did not use the Beal at point guard lineup in the fourth quarter. Tomas Satoransky ran the show for the last 7:43, and while it didn’t work out, at least the team looked functional in defeat. That’s all we really ask.
- Yes, C.J. Miles was red-hot, but frankly, someone was due to get hot considering how many high-quality looks Toronto got from deep. Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet were both unusually cold and DeMar DeRozan was 0-of-3 from deep. This game could have been much worse in that respect.
Next up: The Wizards return to action on Sunday as they host the Pacers at 6 p.m. ET.