NBA Wizards 

Raptors close out Wizards with help from second unit

Second Unit. The Raptors bench played big tonight, they got their leader back in Fred VanVleet and essentially closed things out. VanVleet didn’t have a big night offensively, but he made plays for others and he seemed to have a calming effect for the second unit. The happiest person to see him return may have been Pascal Siakam, scoring 11 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. His activity on the glass played a big role on the offensive end for Toronto in the fourth quarter and his impact defensively was tremendous. He’d been tasked with being the primary defender on Wall in stretches and did a solid job of bothering him. VanVleet did an admirable job of bothering Beal in spurts as well, the Toronto bench was a weapon for them in this closeout game.

Spacing. With Porter’s absence, the Wizards floor spacing was drastically affected. It was very noticeable anytime Wall posted up and in that fourth quarter, the Wizards didn’t have a perimeter player with a reliable enough shot that demanded attention from the Toronto defense. In turn, the Raptors loaded up on Wall and Beal and were prepared to live with any and every consequence in form of a basket by any other Wizards player on the floor. As we stated in the video, a roster flaw was exploited and this was one of the instances in which that applied. Washington needs more wings on their roster.

Out of Gas. Both Wall and Beal stated that there’s no excuses for the early exit from this season’s playoffs, but it was clear that they were gassed. Wall did allude to him and Beal having to improve their conditioning. They played 40 and 43 minutes respectively, they shot a combined 19-of-44 while trying to shoulder the scoring load. Again this speaks to the lack of depth. Washington has several backup point guards, but no true scorers off he bench and it was highlighted tonight especially with Porter’s absence. With the total minutes played by Washington’s backcourt, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan played 31 and 33 minutes.

Screen/Roll. This has been an issue for Washington all season long, they don’t possess the type of bigs needed to switch 1-5 and the Raptors exploited that in this series and many times in the fourth quarter. Far too often, Marcin Gortat/Ian Mahinmi was left to guard Lowry or DeRozan.  Compare that to Toronto where Valanciunas rarely ended up in one-on-one situations with a guard, but their other bigs were fine with it.

Turnovers. This has been an issue all season, when they’re down the Wizards play well. When they’re not, it typically leads to bad results. Washington turned it over 14 times to Toronto’s six. A must win game is not the time for that, an even bigger concern was Washington’s 12 assists. They’ve been on of the better teams in the league at moving the ball and last night was avery poor example of it.

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