The Raptors Bully The Wizards In The Paint | Wizards Blog Truth About

The Raptors Bully The Wizards In The Paint

Updated: November 19, 2017

The last game John Wall missed was against the Toronto Raptors two weeks ago, and the Wizards won that game 106-97, using the following blueprint: Get Bradley Beal the ball. Beal scored a season-high 38 points that night, and in the first half of Sunday’s game, he picked up right where he left off.

Beal lead all scorers with 23 points in the first half, on just 15 shots. The key to the Wizards success at getting him the ball had a lot to do with how the Raptors were playing him defensively. When Beal and Gortat would run their pick-and-rolls at the top of the key, Beal would give the ball to Gortat and then dart past a screen to receive the ball from Gortat via a dribble hand-off (DHO). The Raptors big men played under the screen almost every time, which allowed Beal to roam freely to to the 3-point arc or crash hard to his hot-spot at the elbow.

After halftime, the Raptors decided they had enough of allowing Beal to beat them one-on-one. Toronto blitzed every Beal/Gortat pick-and-roll, forcing Beal to give the ball up or make a bad decision. Beal had five turnovers and did not score a single point in the fourth quarter after his hot start. No other Wizard was able to fill the scoring void left by Beal, and the result was a 100-91 loss.

As TAI’s Conor Dirks astutely pointed out, the Raptors realized they could press on defense because the Wizards were incapable of beating them off the dribble without the electric John Wall.

Tomas Satoransky had the opportunity to backup point guard since Tim Frazier was starting, but he did not take full advantage. His ball handling is still not as tight as it needs to be in order for the coaching staff to trust him in game situations. In the first half, Sato was called for carrying the basketball twice simply because his dribble is too high and when he’s pressured he loses control of his handle. Too many times, Sato took too long to get the Wizards into their offense because he had his back to the basket near half court just to protect the basketball.

Frazier on the other hand is a master at running a team on the offensive end, but limits his own game because he refuses to look for his own shot on offense. Combine that with the fact that he is a liability on defense, and it appears as if the Wizards are in need of a competent backup point guard for the eighth consecutive season during John Wall’s tenure.

The Lone Mid-Ranger

DeMar DeRozan was masterful in his game-high 33-point performance against Washington. DeRozan got the majority of his points by using his adept footwork to get open around the free throw line extended area. DeRozan did hit two 3-pointers in the game, including one towards the end of the game that should have warranted a dagger call from Steve Buckhantz. Coach Brooks commented after the game that the team was “OK” with allowing DeRozan to beat them from deep since that is not really his specialty.

In the first half it appeared as if DeRozan and Beal would be in for an epic shooting guard duel, even though neither player guarded the other. The Wizards implored Otto Porter to guard DeRozan as he has had much success in years past at slowing down DeRozan’s midrange game with his length. This game Porter was not able to contain the Compton native, and the Raptors smartly rode his hot-shooting to victory.

Losing the Battle of the Glass

Washington was outrebounded 48-43, including 11 offensive rebounds which led to a 52-34 scoring advantage for Toronto in the paint. The main culprit was Marcin Gortat, who has lamented in recent days that he feels as if he is sacrificing a lot of his game for the good of the team. That realization makes it even more imperative that Gortat actually fulfills his role as a down-low enforcer. Too many times Gortat was outhustled by Jonas Valanciunas or Pascal Siakam. Siakam played 31 minutes and finished with nine rebounds to go along with four points, while Valanciunas had four points and seven rebounds in just 17 minutes of play.

Siakam’s energy was the difference in the second half, and his great play accentuated the poor outing that the Wizards got from Kelly Oubre Jr. Coming into the game, Oubre ranked third on the team in rebounds per game with 5.9. Oubre only finished with two rebounds and lacked the overall presence of mind he’s shown thus far this season. There was one particular sequence in the third quarter in which Oubre wasted two consecutive fast break opportunities with low basketball IQ plays and then he fouled C.J. Miles on a 3-pointer to give the Raptors a 4-point play. With John Wall sidelined, the Wizards badly needed their ancillary players to play above their means, and that did not happen on Sunday.

Impactful Stats

  • 14 Wizards turnovers to just 8 for the Raptors
  • 12-21 from the free throw line—9 missed free throws in a nine-point loss is tough
  • 1-10 from the field for Markieff Morris
  • The Raptors improved to 10-0 when leading after three quarters and the Wizards fell to 1-4 when trailing heading into the fourth
Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. Bylines on bylines on bylines.

Will write for food.