Key Legislature: Wizards 89 at Raptors 106 — Dusted, Swept, Trashed by Toronto | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 89 at Raptors 106 — Dusted, Swept, Trashed by Toronto

Updated: January 27, 2016

TAI’s Key Legislature… The game’s defining moment, its critical event, the wildest basketball thing you ever saw, or just stuff that happened. Wizards at Raptors, Regular Season Game 43, Jan. 26, 2016, by John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend) from a dual-screen work station.

The Wizards, 24 hours after being swept 4-0 by the Boston Celtics, got swept 4-0 by the Toronto Raptors. The 17-point win for Dwane Casey and Co. was their ninth in a row. “Impressive,” reacted off-the-bench X-factor Terrence Ross, who scored 15 points (9 in the second half). “We’re out here trying to have fun, play hard, trying to keep this going.”

Randy Wittman and his dopey bunch (20-23) are tied for 10th in the standings with best-case-scenario Jan Vesely, Kristaps Porzingis, and the rest of the 22-25 New York Knicks. Washington is 9-14 in games decided by 10 or more points and 9-18 against teams above .500, like the Raptors.

Make no mistake: There’s a pattern there. But the Wizards were in this one at a few points, including seconds after the opening tip. This moment is where we start our story.


The opening 10 minutes of the first quarter were played even, like two people who’ve never played chess trying to take out the Queen. In the final 94 seconds, however, Marcin Gortat missed a gimme at the rim and Jared Dudley turned it over, which led to a pair of made free throws by Bismack Biyombo. Then Ramon Sessions missed a try, which was answered without chance for rebuttal by Cory Joseph. Raps led 22-18.

Within the first three minutes of the second quarter, the Raptors grabbed a double-digit lead. Jonas Valanciunas scored four points at the rim with Kyle Lowry being officially credited with assists on both baskets. The Wizards helped a great deal, too. Nene missed a running hook, which opened the door for an easy counter attack, then Dudley lost the ball on the next possession, and Washington’s perimeter defense was matched by its rim protection—below league average all season.

The Wizards scored seven unanswered points at the seven-minute mark of the second quarter, prompting Dwane Casey to call time. After a point-blank miss by Nene (it seemed like his fifth), this time blocked by Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan twirled past two Wizards defenders for what was ultimately an uncontested layup.

Back, forth, back, forth, ping-pong hoops. An official timeout was called with 2:33 to go in the first half. Two 3-pointers by Washington helped a great deal, in the box score, but the home team (Toronto) still led 45-39.

At halftime, the Wiz trailed 50-53.

John Wall produced 15 of the Wizards’ last 19 points in the final five minutes of the first half. With Washington’s best player looking nothing like himself in Monday’s blowout loss to Boston, it was anyone’s game.

Well, perhaps not. In second halves this year, the Wizards field an average plus/minus of minus-1.7, ranked 22nd in the NBA. (They have an average plus/minus of minus-0.8 in first halves, ranked 19th.)

Not encouraging, in any way, but the Wizards hung around with what Raptors color commentator Leo Rautins called, “good compete.” They found themselves trailing by just two, 66-68, with 3:45 left in the third quarter. Then Terrence Ross ISO’d Gary Neal on the left wing, set him up, crossed him up, and hit a step-back J. Neal would answer with four points in the final two minutes, but he also conceded a few buckets and the Raptors ended the third quarter up 77-70.

Good time to remind readers, here, that the Wizards have an even plus/minus (0) in fourth quarters this season. And considering that the Raps give up the fourth-fewest points in the fourth quarter (23.3), the Wizards, technically within striking distance, were in deep traditional stat doo-doo. In other words, the Wizards were not going to win this game.

Five minutes into the fourth, the Raps, held a 14-point lead, carried by Ross and a frying-pan-hot Lowry.

Speaking of Lowry, he sprinted off the court and into the locker room during a timeout with 3:42 left in the game. His hand got caught defending an off-ball screen for Neal, who would shoot and miss a long 2 attempt. Lowry would return to the bench during the timeout, but disappeared into the tunnel for X-rays before play resumed. “Fingers crossed, everything is fine with Kyle Lowry,” chirped play-by-play guy Matt Devlin, with audible concern. Not for the happenings in this game, mind you: the Raptors then led by 17.

And there was no hope—I mean, none—for the Wizards. With hundreds of seconds to play, NBA fans saw Ramon Sessions, Gary Neal, Kelly Oubre, Jarell Eddie, and Marcin Gortat on the floor.

“This team, what I’ve seen so far this year, we don’t do great dealing with adversity,” Dudley said after the loss to Boston. “I don’t know this year if we have any come-from-behind wins where we were down 10 or more—15. NBA teams are supposed to get a couple of those.”

True, true. Prophet, soothsayer, and the only true stretch 4 on the roster, who, on Tuesday night, wasn’t allowed even get 20 minutes of run. And Kelly Oubre? Five barely meaningful minutes. Questionable rotations aside (and there have been so many over the years), and completely ignoring the return of the midrange-focused offense (only 15 3-point attempts) that has plagued the Wizards in this John Wall era, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong with the Wizards, as Kyle Weidie tweeted earlier this week.

But I do have one idea which might help. I’ll share it with you, since it’s been a while:

Fire. Randy. Wittman.

(The Wizards won’t.)


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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.