Wizards Forget to Clutch Their Soul in Game 5 | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards Forget to Clutch Their Soul in Game 5

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Updated: April 26, 2018

You couldn’t not be nervous the whole game, whether you were a Wizards or Raptors fan. It was either going to end miserably, or triumphantly but just by the skin of its teeth. And it was only Game 5 in a knotted up series — no fishing involved but just the baiting of the hook.

A relatively 3-point-less Wizards team lost it in the end. They imploded, lost by 10 points, 108-98. There were 17 lead changes and 10 ties in this game, folks.

Late in the third period, already 4-for-12 from distance on the night, they missed 13 straight 3-pointers. Where they really lost it: Washington missed seven straight 3s after the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter. That is, until Bradley Beal made a meaningless, pressure-less 3, his first points of the final period, with the Wizards down 13 points with 16 seconds left.

Ironically, Beal made a 3-pointer to bring the Wizards within 56-57 with 8:39 left in the third quarter. Then the misses, by player, in sequence:

  1. Porter
  2. Morris
  3. Morris
  4. Wall
  5. Oubre
  6. Beal
  7. Oubre
  8. Wall
  9. Beal
  10. Beal
  11. Wall
  12. Oubre
  13. Porter

It was 94-93, Raptors, with 4:05 left. Toronto went on a 14-5 run to end it. It was rolling-on-the-ground, locked arm-and-arm competitive until one opponent rolled off a cliff. While the other got up, dusted off their hands, and walked away shrugging their shoulders thinking, ‘Boy am I lucky it just happened to be me.’

Meaning, it was actually a good — damn near great — game in either direction. Then it wasn’t even close.

But it featured everything.

Early fouls, late whistles, and letting them play.

Trash-talking: mostly from Wall, unfortunately, to Toronto’s bench, including assistant coach/ambassador/rabble-rouser Drake.

It featured Wall being amazing, and yet also a clip with his hands on his hip for an entire possession (tweeted by yours truly), which then unfortunately made its way around the twittersphere painting an inaccurate but certainly should-be-accountable picture of Wall.

Wall finished with 26 points on 21 shots, with 9 assists, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 7 turnovers, at least 3 of which were sleepy-eyed careless. He played a game-high 44 minutes (DeRozan played 39, Lowry 38 and Beal played 36). Beal in no way tried to help to seal the deal in the end, even if he and Wall combined for 46 points, on 41 shot no less. DeRozan and Lowry combined for 49 points on 37 shots. It was just about enough.

[There was just a LeBron James buzzer beater in Game 5 while I was writing this, for what it is worth, which is nearly our lives — sporting fandom lives, for what they are worth.]

But the Wizards-Raptors game featured everything. And it was a pretty, pret-ty good contest that got ruined, win or loss.

It was messy, that game. But with encapsulating back-and-forth action — amongst the stars, and role players (from Delon Wright to Mike Scott to Ty Lawson).

There was decent defense — mixed in with quite good defense (sub-47% shooting for both teams, although much of that could have possibly been the lack of legs by both teams).

There was hero ball, and heroics, up until a point for the Wizards, who generally rode grinding out (and stalling) in the clutch all season. Sheesh! Those aforementioned 3-pointers missed. Did we really watch that?

There was good Kelly Oubre, there was terrible Kelly Oubre. There was fourth quarter Jonas Valanciunas. And there was vintage Gortat-from-Wall action; Marcin scored 10 points with 12 rebounds (5 offensive).

The Wizards crushed Toronto on the glass, by the way — 14-6 offensive and 50-35 overall. But Washington’s 18 team turnovers (to Toronto’s 10) coughed up 14 points. Another prevailing theme in Wizlandia: turnovers and the lack of 3-pointers.

Kyle Lowry just snatching the ball from Otto Porter with the Wizards down just three points with 5:20 left was the silent stinker amongst a party of crop-dusters.

NBA TV’s Jared Greenberg reported during the game that he could read lips. Wall and the sidelined Drake exchanged public, friendly, almost branded banter disguised as trash talk, and Wall apparently told said rapper that the Wizards weren’t coming back [for a Game 7].

So, of course, Greenberg boosted the point to DeRozan during the on-court, post-game interview after the Raptors actually won. DeRozan, who looked like he was gunning for points at whatever cost early on (to the potential chagrin of Raptors fans), finished with 32 points but 5 assists (after Lowry’s 10 assists and topping anyone else on the Wizards not named Wall).

“I hope they’re not,” said DeRozan about Wall proclaiming that the Wizards would not make it back to Canada.

And so the Raptors take a critical 3-2 series lead into Friday’s Game 6 in Washington. Maybe it was better that the Wizards got snuffed out like a cat’s paw on an upside-down roach. Not sure how they pick themselves up emotionally after such a loss and survive otherwise. They’ve got the soul to push this series to 7, just not sure they’re capable.

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.