December 15, 2019

Washington Wizards Game 34 Review: Poor middle quarters for Wiz cost them against Raptors

With the number of injuries that the Washington Wizards have endured this season, it is no suprise that they would be reeling. With John Wall cooling off from his Eastern Conference Player of the Month performance in December, Washington came into Friday night’s matchup against Toronto having dropped its previous two games to Miami and Cleveland.

The Raptors have played in “playoffs” mode in their earlier matchup with the Wizards according to Wall, which would explain their two-nil lead so far in the season series. With the return of Gary NealNene, and Drew GoodenRandy Wittman was able to assemble a floor lineup of all bench players for the first time in a while. Getting outscored in the middle two quarters by 20 meant the Wizards were forced to play catch up in the fourth, which did not go well. The result? The Wizards continued to be routed by Toronto in the regular season with a 97-88 loss.

The Wizards came out fast and furious, capitalizing off multiple Raptors turnovers — as well as in the transition game — even off of made baskets. Before the quarter even ended, Washington had nine points off of five Toronto turnovers — as well as eight fast break points. The Wizards started to kick it into gear on defense with five blocks in the opening quarter, which held the Raptors to 30.4 percent (7 of 23) shooting. At the end of one quarter Washington held a 26-18 lead.

Sloppy play from the home team allowed the Raptors to rattle off a 9-3 run. Toronto came back to tie the game at 37, as Washington gave up a dozen points on the same number of turnovers during the first half. With DeMar DeRozan dropping 14 first half points and the flow of the game halted by over-officiating, the Wizards lost momentum in the quarter. As a result ,it was a new game at halftime with the score tied at 47.

Washington did a nice job coming out fast to start the second half in the same way they did in the first and forced a Dwane Casey timeout. After that, it was all Toronto for a stretch as they began dominating in the paint for an 11-2 run. Wall and Gortat were both the victims in the paint on five consecutive possessions. That same run extended to 22-6, as the Wizards had non-existent offense over the final eight minutes. After losing the second quarter by eight, Washington lost the third by 12 to head into the fourth down 73-61.

(Photo by: @NBA)

(Photo by: @NBA)

Toronto was attempting to give this game away with all of their turnovers. After the Wizards had nine points off of Raptors first five turnovers, they had just six points on their following 17 (SEVENTEEN)! Kyle Lowry hit three consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to complements DeRozan’s game-high 35 points. With Toronto up 14, Ramon Sessions tried his best to keep the Wizards relevant with 11 fourth quarter points, but it was not enough. Washington cut it to six with a Wall 3 with three minutes to go, but could not get it done defensively.  The Wizards dropped their third straight game with a  97-88 loss.

Washington (15-19) will play the second leg of a back-to-back on Saturday when they put their 11-game winning streak against the Magic on the line in Orlando.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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  1. […] Wizards got off to a similar start as Friday against the Raptors, by capitalizing off of the opponents turnovers. 57.9 percent (11 of 19) shooting in the first […]

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