E is for Effort, L is for Loss — Wizards Retreat from Toronto Once Again | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

E is for Effort, L is for Loss — Wizards Retreat from Toronto Once Again

Updated: November 24, 2018

[No longer pictured: Randy Wittman]

Bestow upon the Wizards a capital E for above-minimal effort in Toronto on Friday night. As a collection of individuals, they did just a little more to cut hard, jump into passing lanes, make the extra pass, and get back in transition than their prior attempts to Effort during NBA basketball games. Too bad, though, it only amounted to a loss.

Washington, once again, facilitated a double-digit deficit in the first quarter but ended it down 8 points. A stronger second quarter and an extra push of effort after halftime even gave the Wizards a 71-70 lead just over three minutes into the third quarter. But then they never led again, and Scott Brooks’s babblers were gently laid to rest by Nick Nurse’s squadron. It ended 125-107 in favour of Toronto with Washington shooting less than 20% from deep on 46 heaves while the Raptors shot 44% on 39 attempts from afar.

Brooks once again started Kelly Oubre over Markief Morris and, with Dwight Howard still out, the upstart Thomas Bryant once again got a chance to make his mark. And that he did with 7 points, 8 rebounds (4 offensive) and 2 blocks in 17 minutes. Bryant attempted four 3-pointers (they were mostly good looks) to help keep things honest, but made just one, going 3-for-7 from the field overall. Still, he displayed energy; he moved in the paint; he stretched his arms to intimidate the offensive predators and kept his eyes wide to see them. Bryant was the lone bright spot on this night — past mere fleeting effort from the team — and Brooks may just need to better use him in rotations. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Kawhi Leonard, my friends: he needs no introduction and that wasn’t much of one for the way he rendered the Wizards frozen in the moment. Oubre learned the most about how goofy ol’ humans will never truly be able to complete with machines. Leonard scored a tight 27 points on 22 shots to go with 10 rebounds in 30 minutes-flat. Now that’s how a superstar makes use of his time.

That the Wizards could be ‘getting there’ did not go unnoticed. But, it wasn’t just the aforementioned 3-pointers (providing 51 of Toronto’s points to 27 for D.C.). It was a hefty bench advantage (59-39 in points for the Raps), and it was the crisp zips of passing from the North. The Wizards had no hope of keeping up, as mere 8-0 runs by Toronto (a norm in today’s NBA and never insurmountable, anyway) seemed like just another nail in the coffin that would leave Washington gasping for air and unable to recover.

Familiar foe Fred Van Vleet did the damage of scoring 5 points and assisting on a 3-pointer over the last 75 seconds of the first quarter, and followed that with another 3-pointer and an assist in the first 60 seconds of the second. Van Vleet finished with 13 points on 7 shots and was a strong counter to pockets of Wizards ineptitude.

Wall bricked so many 3s. Beal would zing passes out of bounds. Oubre and Morris sometimes got confused retreating in transition. Austin Rivers is still frozen in a block of ice.

At this point in the blog, it still feels like there hasn’t been enough back-patting for the Wizards taking a 71-70 lead early in the third quarter thanks to a 9-0 run out of the gates. But they ended up getting outscored in the period by six points with two of John Wall’s 7 turnovers and two of his six missed 3-pointers (1-7) coming in the period. He didn’t make much noise overall with 11 points, 13 total shots attempts, zero free throw attempts, and 11 assists. Wall didn’t even chirp much with the referees. Nobody knows nothing, and nobody wants to be here, apparently.

Bradley Beal chipped in 20 points on 16 shots, Otto Porter 17 points on 12, and Oubre 13 on 14 attempts. The starters collectively went 4-for-26 on 3-pointers — no one made more than one. All bench players were adequately subpar, and Ian Mahinmi received his seventh DNP-CD over 18 games.

In summation, the Wizards were the dumpster without the fire on Friday night. Nice that the flames weren’t scorching for a change if you yearn not to be totally negative.

This evening the Wizards, at home versus the New Orleans Pelicans, will once again search for fire in their belly … while hoping to bury conventional and persistent issues with the magic of letting it fly.

The Plan, a plan — or at least just something to do:

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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.