Wizards

Turner unaware of Gaither's injury on big play

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Turner unaware of Gaither's injury on big play

SAN DIEGO (AP) NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth saw something wrong with San Diego Chargers left tackle Jared Gaither and predicted that New Orleans Saints defensive end Martez Wilson would sack Philip Rivers to end Monday night's game.

Chargers coach Norv Turner wasn't alerted to Gaither's injury, either by the player himself or an assistant coach. Sure enough, with the Chargers desperately trying for the tying touchdown in the final seconds, Wilson blew past the hobbled Gaither on Rivers' blind side for the strip-sack and recovered the fumble to preserve the Saints' 31-24 victory.

``It wasn't brought to my attention,'' Turner said Monday.

After Rivers threw an incompletion on second-and-10 from the New Orleans 33, Collinsworth said: ``Gaither looks lame. He's gonna have to get some help here or Wilson's gonna get a sack to end this game.''

After it played out like Collinsworth suggested it would, he said: ``Nobody saw it. You could see it on the play before. He couldn't move. ... He's limping out there. He's doing his best. He should have turned around to Philip Rivers and said, `Either I've got to go out or you have to give me help on this side.' `'

The victory was the first in five games for the Saints and Drew Brees, who broke Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas' half-century-old record by throwing a touchdown pass in his 48th straight game. Brees beat his old team for the second time since 2008 by throwing for 370 yards and four TDs.

San Diego dropped to 3-2 heading into Monday night's home game against Peyton Manning and the division rival Denver Broncos.

Turner said at his weekly news conference that he had heard of Collinsworth's comments.

``He's looking down from up above,'' Turner said. ``It was actually in the third-to-last play he strained his groin a little bit. I would rather have him come out in that situation. He got back in the huddle. Obviously there's no way you could see it. I think Cris saw it on the next play where Philip had to throw the ball away and the last play was the sack. You'd like Jared to come out of the game. We could have put (Mike) Harris in. It would have helped us. I think he wanted to fight through it and felt he could play.''

Last season, left guard Kris Dielman was staggered by a helmet-to-helmet hit with a New York Jets player. He did not come out of the game and wasn't diagnosed until afterward. Dielman had a grand mal seizure as the team plane approached San Diego and was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he spent the night. Dielman retired on March 1 rather than risk another concussion.

Asked about the team's increased diligence in detecting players who aren't 100 percent, Turner said: ``We're trying to stay on top of that. In that case the player's got to let you know he can't go.''

None of the Chargers' assistant coaches who watch the game from a booth in the press box alerted Turner.

``I think Collinsworth saw it on the second-to-last play,'' Turner said. ``It wasn't brought to my attention.''

Gaither missed most of training camp and the first three games with back spasms. Turner says Gather has a chance to practice this week and play Monday night.

The play that helped turn the game came in the third quarter. Chargers linebacker Demorrio Williams intercepted Brees and returned it for a touchdown that would have given the Chargers a 31-14 lead. But the score was negated after rookie Melvin Ingram was whistled for roughing the passer after he drove his helmet into Brees' chin.

It was Ingram's second roughing the passer penalty of the season.

``We're going to fix that issue,'' Turner said. ``It's coaching, it's technique, it's him understanding the way the games are officiated. There's no question we addressed it after the Raider game and It's something we're going to deal with. Everyone in the league has dealt with it. You look at the great pass rushers in the league and they've all learned how to handle it. We've got to get Melvin to do the same.''

Five plays later, Brees hit Marques Colston on a 16-yard touchdown pass that started the Saints' comeback.

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Wizards have to find a way to stop DeMar DeRozan to climb back in series

Wizards have to find a way to stop DeMar DeRozan to climb back in series

The Toronto Raptors' best player has become a serious problem for the Washington Wizards, as they now face a 3-2 series deficit and the bleak reality that one more loss means their season is over.

DeMar DeRozan, who began this first round series with a modest 17 points in Game 1, has since raised his game to a new level to beyond even what we have seen in the past. In Games 2-5, DeRozan has averaged 31.8 points, including his 32-game outburst in Game 5 that tilted the series in Toronto's favor.

DeRozan is averaging 28.8 points through five games against the Raptors. That's up considerably from his 22.5-point career playoff average.

DeRozan scored his 32 points in Game 5 with efficiency. He shot 12-for-24 from the field and even made three of his four shots from three.

He didn't even need the free throw line like he normally does. DeRozan shot six free throws, less than his regular season average.

The Wizards are having trouble with DeRozan particularly in the first half. DeRozan is averaging 14.8 first-half points during the playoffs, second only to LeBron James. 

DeRozan had 20 points by halftime in Game 5.

"DeMar was in his element tonight," forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. said. "He got it going early. It was kind of hard to shut him off."

The Wizards are paying for disrespecting DeRozan's three-point shot. He shot just 31.2 percent from long range in the regular season, but is shooting threes at a 45.5 percent clip in the playoffs.

If DeRozan is knocking them down from outside, his offensive game is as complete as just about anyone in the NBA. He has shown in this series an impressive ability to not only get to the rim, but finish through contact or draw fouls.

DeRozan does a good job of maintaining body and ball control going straight up against Wizards' big men and is often rewarded by the referees. He shot a playoff career-high 18 free throws in Game 4.

The Wizards are actually doing a decent job of taking away his midrange shots, which usually account for much of his points. Though DeRozan is hitting an impressive 66.7 percent from 5-to-9 feet, up from his season clip of 47.6, his numbers are down from further out.

DeRozan is shooting 40 percent from 10-to-14 feet out, down from 41.5 percent in the regular season, and just 28.6 percent from 15-to-19 feet, down from 43.7.

DeRozan is hurting the Wizards from long range and within nine feet of the rim. He is taking what the Wizards are giving him and Washington has to adjust.

"We’ve gotta pretty much get it out of [his] hands. Make sure we take care of everybody else," Oubre said.

The Wizards should look to how the defended him in Game 4 as a good example of how to limit his impact. DeRozan had 35 points, but required 29 shots from the field and 18 free throws to get there. 

Washington forced DeRozan into an inefficient night and forced others to try to beat them. The result was the Wizards' best defensive game overall, as the Raptors scored a series-low 98 points.

DeRozan isn't the only defensive concern for the Wizards as they look ahead to Game 6 on Friday. Backup point guard Delon Wright scored 18 points for the second time this series and Toronto hit 11 threes in the game.

The Wizards held the Raptors to just seven threes in Game 4 and it was no coincidence they won that game. They have to lock down the perimeter and, as this series has shown, that includes DeRozan even though he isn't known for making threes.

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Wizards go cold late to drop Game 5, as Raptors take 3-2 series lead

Wizards go cold late to drop Game 5, as Raptors take 3-2 series lead

The Washington Wizards lost to the Toronto Raptors 108-98 in Game 5 of their first round playoff series on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Ice cold: When the Wizards needed it most, their offense failed them. With John Wall running the show, they can traditionally score with the best of them. But from the 4:05 mark in the fourth quarter, they went scoreless for a stretch of three minutes and 49 seconds.

Meanwhile, the Raptors converted turnovers into points to close the game on a 14-5 run. The Wizards shot brick after brick from long range and missed 11 of their last 15 shots. It was a shocking collapse in a game that had been going well for the Wizards.

By beating the Wizards in Game 5, the Raptors took a 3-2 series lead which historically means they have nearly an 83 percent chance of winning the series. Those aren't good odds for the Wizards, who can look at one area of the court to blame.

The Wizards made only five threes on 26 attempts. The Raptors, conversely, went 11-for-25 (44%) from the perimeter. The Wizards' five threes were their fewest in a game since Jan. 12.

DeRozan was a killer: As has been the case this entire series, DeMar DeRozan led the charge for Toronto. The perennial All-Star came out on fire with 20 points in the first half alone.

This time, it wasn't just free throws. He was 4-for-4 at the half, but 7-for-13 from the field and 2-for-2 from three. Usually, threes aren't his game.

DeRozan kept it up in the second half to score 32 points on 12-of-24 from the field. That's a pretty efficient night.

Otto looked a bit hurt: Otto Porter, who was held to nine points and four rebounds, didn't appear to be moving very well. He was running around with a limp, which suggests his right lower leg strain is still bothering him.

Head coach Scott Brooks said last week that Porter is 100 percent, but that doesn't seem like the case, unless there was some sort of setback in the time since. Porter, however, is such a smart player and such a good shooter that he can still make the most of his time on the court.

Solid start: The Wizards aren't used to playing well in the first quarter this series. They entered Game 5 with an average deficit of -7.2 points in the first quarter. In this game, however, they led by one point after one.

That was thanks to a buzzer-beater by John Wall (26 points, nine assists, nine rebounds). Ian Mahinmi got the offensive rebound and it set up Wall for a last-second shot. He got to one of his spots and sent it in:

It was just the second time in five games this series that the Wizards have been leading after one. The other time was Game 3, when the Wizards beat the Raptors handily to earn their first win.

The Wizards, though, couldn't finish. They also couldn't protect the ball. At least Wall couldn't, as he committed seven turnovers, one short of his playoff career-high.

Backup PGs: The Raptors again played without point guard Fred VanVleet, their best bench player and a guy who is arguably one of the best backup point guards in basketball. The loss has been evident for the most part, despite his replacement Delon Wright doing a solid job, including with 18 points in Game 5.

On Wednesday, Washington's backup point guard also shined. Despite not playing a single game during the regular season, Ty Lawson continues to make smart plays and create scoring opportunities for others.

He had four assists in this game and made one of the best plays of the night. Check out this move he put on to set up Ian Mahinmi:

And this dude was playing in China like two weeks ago? If he keeps this up, there will be an easy case to make that the Wizards should re-sign him for next season.

Clearly, they want Tomas Satoransky to play more off the ball and the coaching staff hasn't gained full trust in him. Lawson and Satoransky could make a solid reserve backcourt if they have some time to develop some chemistry.

Up next: The Wizards and Raptors are back at it on Friday night in Washington for Game 6. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

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