home 2015-16, Blogs, Game Coverage Wizards at Raptors Pregame: It Wasn’t Supposed To Be Like This

Wizards at Raptors Pregame: It Wasn’t Supposed To Be Like This

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Washington at Toronto

January 26, 2016 at 7:30 PM
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

January 8, 2016 – Verizon Center, DC: Raptors 97, Wizards 88


What to watch

This is my first game preview of the 2015-16 Washington Wizards season so I want to choose my words carefully.

The Wizards to me are like a 2-liter of flat Fanta grape soda. There was so much excitement when I bought it. The first few gulps were delicious (preseason), but my kids forgot to put the cap on tight and when I came back for more, it was flat. No more bubbles, just flat sugar water. A tad bit tastier than ‘hot dog water’ (™ Chris Miller/CSN), but still nasty.

The Wizards were supposed to be good this year, good enough to place 4th in the East again and maybe compete with Cleveland, Chicago and Toronto for the top tier of Eastern Conference teams. Sure, they lost Paul Pierce, but John Wall would pick up the pieces, Beal would continue to grow, small ball was here to stay and they’d be good at it, they’d be healthy and coaching would continue to grow too.

Forty-two games in and DC’s basketball team is two games below .500 and eight games back of the team they face this evening. I’m typically a glass-half-full type guy but what exactly about this team makes you want to speak fondly of them at the water cooler while your friends are talking about Steph Curry cooking up 30-point wins over the Spurs?

Hey, did you guys see John Wall’s 10 assists in the Wizards loss to Celtics last night?

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I’m watching body language tonight. Wizards fans can blame Randy Wittman all they want to and if I’m a betting man, Coach Wittman has to get to the Eastern Conference Finals to be buying a house in Chevy Chase, MD next year, but the players also gotta play. To quote the great basketball philosopher, Charles Barkley, “it ain’t about the X’s and O’s it’s about the jims and joes.”

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Watching this team is like watching Milton from “Office Space.”

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They look miserable, like they’re simply going through the motions. It’s not effort either. I believe any team that has John Wall as its captain is going to ‘try,’ but they have the team chemistry of you and I picking up three guys at the Y on a Monday night.

The season is far from over…for better or worse. A chance to rebound after a bad home loss, on the heels of a failed home stand, against the team you swept in the playoffs last year sounds like a John Wall ABC Family Special if I’ve ever seen one. We may learn a lot more about this Wizards team from tonight’s fight than you have in the 42 games before it.


Key Matchup

John Wall vs. the Raptors

I hate to be the guy putting a game on the shoulders of one player but for the Wizards to even think about beating the Raptors tonight, it starts and ends with their captain, and his ability to protect and distribute the ball. John Wall doesn’t need a 38-point night to lead his team to victory, but as goes his assist/turnover ratio, so go the victories. Unfortunately for Wall, he’ll have to do so without his sidekick Bradley Beal, who will not go due to a broken nose and the league concussion protocol.

Speaking of Bradley, it’s just unfortunate to watch him fight through something only to go down to something else just days later. But I can’t help but look at the way Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are playing and feeding off each other and feel genuinely sorry for John. He hasn’t been able to consistently grow his own backcourt relationship into what it should be, but I digress.

That said, call me crazy but I do think Wall has himself a game tonight. The odds are completely in his favor to do so, just think about it; Raptors riding an 8-game winning streak. Wizards are losers of three of the last four games. Bradley Beal injured, again, more guys doing advertisements for Men’s Warehouse on the bench than those playing minutes… surely, give me John Wall, against the field, with his back up against a… Wall.

Because I’ve never minded putting myself out there…

John Wall: 26 points, 12 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block. Stamp it.


X-factor

The Polish Machine.

Marcin has pretty much been steady-Eddie this season. Averaging almost a double-double with 13.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, Gortat will be going for his seventh straight game with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds. Playing against Jonas brother Valanciunas presents its challenges because of how far he can stretch you, but Marcin has played well against this team in the past. If John Wall is rolling, that typically means so is the pick and roll and that would mean this guy has himself a game too.


Fun Factor:

Yea, so what it happened last year. It still happened.

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Prediction

John Wall and Marcin Gortat have themselves a game that Ice Cube would rap about in a song. However, it’s not enough to defeat the Raptors. I see DeRozan having a good shooting night, Lowry being efficient and Jonas being the difference maker for the Raptors. I just can’t see how a team still trying to figure out who they are and how to win is going to beat a team playing together and for each other. If the Wizards want their fans to stop feeling like this, then they need to go out and be who they said they were going to be. It’s not the fans’ fault, it just wasn’t supposed to be like this.

we are Hoop District

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