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Wizards-Bobcats box score rewind

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Wizards-Bobcats box score rewind

So much transpired during the 108-106 double-overtime loss to Charlotte that a single once-over of the final book proved insufficient. In no particular, some box score and beyond items that stood out to yours truly:

*The plus-minus statistic often leads to misleading conclusions. Not in this game, not since Nene returned to the lineup. Seemingly, whenever the Brazilian big man stepped on or off the court against the Bobcats momentum changed. No Nene starting the first and third quarters, the Wizards fall into double-digit holes. Nene comes in later in those quarters, rallies commence. In a game the Wizards lost by two points, Nene finished +22. In his two games back including Wednesday's one-point overtime loss to Atlanta, the power forward is +31. Again, the Wizards lost the games by a combined three points.

*Taking this point deeper into advanced stats: According to basketballreference.com, Nene owns the highest Win-share (.318) per 48 minutes of any player in the league that has played at least 45 minutes this season.

*Nene made 8 of 13 field goal attempts against the Bobcats. The other 10 Wizards' that played finished 26 of 80. The team in both overtime's, 4 of 17. For the game from anywhere, Jordan Crawford, 4 of 15, Bradley Beal, 3 of 12, Chris Singleton, 3 of 11 and Kevin Seraphin, 3 of 10. Speaking of Seraphin, in the two games with Nene back his plus/minus is -34.

*During the first 47 minutes and 33 seconds, the Wizards made 27 of 30 free throws. Over the final 10 minutes and 17 seconds just 5 of 9. Trailing 92-91 with 17 seconds left in regulation, Martell Webster attempted two free throws. He split the pair, overtime. In the first OT with Charlotte leading 99-97, the Bobcats fouled a 3-point shooting Chris Singleton with 0.4 seconds remaining. Make, miss, make equals second overtime. Washington takes a three point in the final extra session then leads 102-101 with 1:47 left. Singleton is fouled, makes one of two. Next Charlotte possession, Reggie Williams makes his only field goal, a 3-pointer to boot. Bobcats take the lead for good.

*Before the game, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said Nene remained on a minutes count with 20 being the outer limit. In Wednesday's single-OT game, Wittman stayed with the plan by using Nene just under 20 minutes even though that mean keeping his top player on the sideline during the extra session. Following Friday's practice Wittman said of Nene's minutes, "I've got to be careful. It's hard. The impact he has on our team and how he helps our other players especially from an offense standpoint, we've got to be smart too."

If the latest game ended in regulation, Wittman once would have once again taken Nene's time to the edge, but not beyond. Instead, the coach used his gutty veteran for all but five seconds of the two-overtime session. "He makes everybody a little bit better for us," Wittman said postgame. "He's tired now, his conditioning, thought his legs got heavy, but he gutted it out. He wanted to be out there. He gives us somebody we can play through. He just makes us all better. He's a very bright basketball IQ that we need more of."

*Emeka Okafor played 21 minutes, but none in either overtime session. He led the Wizards with nine first half points and grabbed four rebounds in five fourth quarter minutes, though his plus-minus in that final span, -5.

*Three Bobcats fouled out - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Ben Gordon, Jeff Taylor. The trio combined for 41 points, 6 of 9 on 3-pointers and 14 of 29 overall.

*Kemba Walker, Charlotte's leading scorer on the season, finished 3 of 17 from the field.

*Only 11 games into his pro career, Bradley Beal is bound to establish new personal bests on a semi-regular basis. Against the Bobcats, that meant five assists plus his first double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The rookie also missed a 3-pointer with 7.8 seconds left in the first overtime and Washington down one point. Overall the Wizards missed 21 of 27 shots from beyond the arc.

*Over his last six games, Beal has made at least 50 percent of his shots only once. In that span, 17 of 63 (26.9 percent).

*Chris Singleton had 13 points and matched his career-high with 12 rebounds before fouling out. He finished with four steals - all in the third quarter. Finished with six of the Wizards 18 offensive rebounds.

*Martell Webster scored a season-high 16 points. His offensive rating - estimate of points produced/scored per 100 possessions - of 159 led the Wizards. On the other end, A.J. Price finished with a 32.

*Jan Vesely started for the fourth straight game, though he's played only 18 minutes combined in the last two outings. In 10 minutes against the Bobcats, Vesely scored two points, had one steal, one turnover, made his one field goal attempt and missed his only free throw. His second free throw attempt on the same possession, an air ball, scrubbed from the record book as several players committed a lane violation.

*Of those who have played in at least 9 of the Wizards' 11 games this season, only Singleton and Webster have yet to start a game.

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Fourth quarter has been an issue for the Wizards in series vs. Raptors

Fourth quarter has been an issue for the Wizards in series vs. Raptors

It was all going so well for the Wizards in Game 5 on Wednesday night until just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. That's when their offense went from good enough to win to bad enough to alter a series and put their 2017-18 season on life support.

The Wizards head back to Washington down 3-2 and have only themselves to blame. From the 4:05 mark in the fourth quarter all the way until 16.2 seconds remining in the game, they did not score a single point. Meanwhile, the Raptors kept rolling and finished that stretch on a 14-5 run. 

The Wizards missed 11 of their final 15 shots. They stopped moving the ball and moving off the ball and even some of their open shots clanged off the backboard or the rim.

It was a stunning display of offensive ineptitude from a team that was above average in scoring during the regular season. 

"We just missed some shots," guard Bradley Beal said. "We feel like we got some good ones, especially down the stretch."

The Wizards managed 20 points in the fourth quarter and 15 came in the first 7:55 of the frame. That would put them on pace for a solid quarter. If they maintained that course, they may have won the game.

Instead, the fourth quarter amounted to a disaster and it cost them dearly. Teams that lose Game 5 to break a 2-2 tie have a 17.2 percent chance of winning the series, based on the league's history.

Otto Porter went scoreless and took one shot in the fourth quarter of Game 5. John Wall had two of his seven turnovers and shot 2-for-6.

"I had two crucial turnovers trying to split screens in the fourth quarter," Wall said. "Just bad reads on my part."

Beal shot 1-for-6 from the field and 1-for-4 from three. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who shot just 40.3 percent from the field during the regular season, took six shots in the fourth quarter, tied for most on the team. He made two of them and missed all three of his threes.

The Wizards had six of their 18 giveaways in the fourth. Though they outrebounded the Raptors 50-35 for the game, they were outdone 15-12 in the frame.

The Wizards' scoreless drought of three minutes and 49 seconds in the fourth quarter was perhaps foreshadowed by some problems with their offense early in the game. There were plenty of stretches characterized by bad shots, turnovers and a lack of passing.

The Wizards' 21 assists in Game 5 were their fewest in the playoffs so far.

"We need more ball movement," Beal said. "We need more player movement. We were way too stagnant."

The fourth quarter has been an issue all series. Only once, in Game 2, did they outscore the Raptors in the final frame. 

The Wizards rank 14th out of 16 playoff teams in fourth quarter points (23.4/g) and dead-last with a 40.4 field goal percentage and 28.1 three point percentage.

This is a bit of a carryover from the regular season. Only five teams shot worse than the Wizards in the fourth quarter (43.7%) and only five teams allowed more points (26.5) to their opponents.

Washington has had issues closing games all year and throughout this series. Wednesday night was an extreme example and it has them just one loss away from elimination.

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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 in their 2018 NBA Playoffs first-round series 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 made 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 down shots 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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