November 28, 2015 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC
The Wizards were in desperate need for something – anything – to breathe life back into their season. Losers of three straight, including a monumental collapse against the Hornets and second blowout loss to the Celtics, things wouldn’t be easier, as they faced a Raptors team that was not only doing well on the season, but eager to win against the team that swept them in the playoffs. Not exactly the slump buster you’d draw up, but Washington was desperate.
With Nene’s absence (and the team looking for a fresh look), Jared Dudley drew the start over Kris Humphries. Overall, the offense started well, despite Wall starting horribly, missing his first six shots. Beal anchored the floor attack and Marcin Gortat, taking advantage of Jonas Valanciunas’ being out, started 4-5 from the floor. The Wizards enjoyed a 13-0 run through the middle of the first and lead 23-16 at the end of the first quarter.
Over the next couple quarters, the teams traded blows, but the Wizards maintained their lead, thanks in large part to Otto Porter’s play and hustle, as well as Garrett Temple, taking advantage of his minutes, staying very busy defensively. Temple didn’t score a field goal but had three steals. Porter went 3-5 from three-point range and pulled down five rebounds.
But as Washington basketball lore goes, all good things must come to an end. While the Wizards’ perimeter defense stayed busy on Kyle Lowry for most of the game, he beat them to some key spots for clutch three-pointers in the 4th quarter – one to tie the game at 70 and one to bring the Raptors within a point. With less than a minute left, Wall nailed two key free throws, but subsequently missed two more important ones, giving Toronto the ball back with 3 seconds remaining. The result was a perfectly drawn play by Dwane Casey, which left Corey Joseph alone in the corner for the game winning three-pointer as time expired. The Wizards dropped their fourth straight contest, 84-82.
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) November 29, 2015
With a putrid defense and their star player struggling and seemingly disengaged, you have to wonder how much longer the Wizards will go without making changes.
Oh, by the way, the Cavaliers are up next.
Things to remember from tonight:
I was very interested in seeing how Kris Humphries would play coming off the bench and he was pretty solid. Kris only made two field goals, but he came up with 5 rebounds and a block. (He also didn’t take any three-pointers)
Jared Dudley’s first start? Inconclusive. Dudley only scored 7 points in 30 minutes of play, but he was missed on a few open opportunities. I still prefer this lineup to one that was obviously not carrying its weight.
Imagine the outcome of this game if the Wizards had Gary Neal available tonight. For as much as Temple and Sessions bring in hustle and getting out on the break, they leave even more in terms of scoring. Sessions continues to struggle finishing at the rim and Temple just doesn’t have his shot. The two shot a combined 0-13 from the floor tonight.
#WizRaptors in a tweet..
#wizards are basketball version of my life
— Brian Mills (@freshxdesign) November 29, 2015
The Game’s Top Performer:
Bradley Beal – 20 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 8-8 FT, 2-4 3PT
The best part about Brad Beal’s line? He only needed 9 field goal attempts to lead the team in scoring tonight. This past offseason, we read about and saw footage of Brad working on his isolation moves and ability to get into the paint. Tonight he did just that, bulldozing his way to a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line. Beal also battled through a rolled ankle in the second quarter that most thought would sideline him for the game. Good, tough performance.
Honorable Mention: Marcin Gortat with 16 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and a block.
A forgettable night for..
John Wall – missed 19 of 25 field goals
John Wall’s struggles didn’t turn around tonight, as he had one of his worst shooting performances in recent memory, going 6-25 from the floor. After going completely cold in the first quarter, Wall seemed to begin turning things around, making his next few shots, including a three-pointer. While he seemed to not have a few calls go his way, several of the missed were just bad. The result – as it has been – was Wall deferring to teammates when he had better looks.
And the missed free throws.
Wall’s just not all there this season.