The Washington Wizards suffered their third straight loss, 97-88, at the hands of the Toronto Raptors. The loss puts Washington’s record at 15-19, sitting last in their division and 12th in the Eastern Conference.
Demar Derozan was the star of the night, as he torched the Wizards with 35 points, twelve of which came from the free throw line. This is the second consecutive game that Derozan scored over 30 points against the Wizards, as he dropped 34 just over a week ago. Kyle Lowry pitched in 21 points and 10 rebounds. John Wall was the leading scorer on his team with 21, but he was inefficient and committed 7 turnovers. After scoring 7 points in the first quarter, Otto Porter didn’t provide much else offensively for the rest of the night, but ended the night as Washington’s second leading scorer.
Randy Wittman’s team started the game off with strong transition offense and capitalized on Toronto’s turnovers, but as time went on, the defense began slipping, and Toronto cut down on the miscues. The turning point of the game came in the 3rd quarter when Washington’s offense went cold, only making 3 baskets as a result of Toronto’s increased defensive energy. Per teamrankings.com, Washington ranks 15th (league average) in 3rd quarter scoring with 24.8 points. Against Toronto, the team only scored 14 while Toronto put up 26. Toronto won the rebounding battle and shot 11 more free throws than the Wizards, hinting at Derozan’s uncanny ability to get to the line.
While still not fully healthy, the Wizards had a couple of their key players playing in their second game since being injured. Nene, who was sidelined all of December with a calf injury, played in his second straight game, but wasn’t as effective as in his initial return, only registering 4 points and 2 rebounds in limited time. Drew Gooden, who sat out the previous two games after making his initial return on New Year’s Day, hit a 3-pointer and had 3 rebounds in 10 minutes. Bradley Beal did some light shooting in shootaround and continues to work his way back into form. With key players beginning to get back up to speed, Washington hopes to improve upon a frustrating start to the season. They remain only 3.5 games out of the eight seed despite having an inconsistent season.
The Wizards look to break their losing streak on the road game against the 20-17 Orlando Magic Saturday night. Being that the game will come on the heels of a tough loss, the unhealthy Wizards will have to dig deep.