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Wizards fall on Raptors' buzzer-beater 84-82: Five takeaways


Wizards fall on Raptors' buzzer-beater 84-82: Five takeaways

Turning back the clock and playing the type of grind-it-out defense that the Wizards are known for, they almost ended their three-game losing streak Saturday. But John Wall misfired on two foul shots with five seconds remaining and allowed the Toronto Raptors to set up a final play that resulted in Cory Joseph hitting the game-winner at the buzzer at Verizon Center, 84-82.

It wasn't just that the Wizards (6-8) lost the game. It's how they lost as they had every opportunity to put Toronto away with an 80-72 lead with 4:04 left. Wall had a miserable game shooting, 6 of 25 for 18 points and just five assists.

The Wizards only shot 33.3% in the first half, making 15 of 45 shots, but they got to the foul line eight more times, had eight fewer turnovers than the Raptors (11-6) and held them to 39 first-half points. 

Jared Dudley, making his first start at power forward for Kris Humphries, had seven points and four rebounds. Bradley Beal led the way with 20 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals and Marcin Gortat contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Kyle Lowry's three-pointer tied the score at 70 with 9:09 left, but the Wizards swallowed them up to compensate for stalled offense. But in the end, it was the Raptors Lowry led Toronto with 27 points and DeMar DeRozan 20. Joseph had 12 off the bench.

DeRozan took the inbound pass with three seconds left, drove into the paint and found Joseph spotting up in the corner.

  • Gortat touched the ball early and often, and that's what the Wizards have to do to maximize the big man in the middle who was the only person in the trenches rebounding in the last game. Gortat hit his first four shots. His defensive rotations were Nene-like in helping stop penetration from DeRozan. Gortat stepped out to help on DeRozan in the corner until Otto Porter could recover. With him trapped, DeRozan threw an errant pass cross court. After along rebound, DeRozan got out in the open court to use  a Euro-step to get to the rim but Gortat's block stopped him. 

  • Wall wasn't deterred by missing his first nine shots. He warmed up in the third quarter as he got his looks more in the flow of the offense as he made three consecutive jump shots. But just as important for the point guard was his determination on the defensive end. After Kelly Oubre's contested dunk popped out, DeRozan had a clear breakaway dunk. Wall sprinted from behind to make a legitimate contest -- and despite DeRozan having full extension at the time of Wall's leap -- to break up the play and send him to the foul line. DeRozan made 1 of 2 but this is the type of hustle that has been absent from almost everyone during the losing streak. Cory Joseph bowled Wall over on a drive attempt, and when the whistle didn't blow Wall claimed the loose ball on the floor for a timeout at 4:04. The 50-50 ball battle was won by Washington.

  • Beal had 20 points on just nine shots. That's efficiency. He was getting to the line as he took eight free throws, his most of the season. If Beal is the best shooter/scorer on this team, there's no excuse for him having just two shot attempts in nine minutes of play in the fourth quarter and zero points. 

  • Bismack Biyombo is a defensive force in the middle, but the Wizards made the Raptors pay for the offensive liability being on the floor. They were able to double DeRozan and DeMarre Carroll with whoever was guarding Biyombo to slow down their offense. But Biyombo's presence prevented the Wizards from running away with it. It's not just his four blocks but he changed countless shots on dribble penetration in the paint. Biyombo had  one of the best 0 point games in basketball, also grabbing a game-high 16 rebounds.

  • Because the Wizards took care of the ball in the first half (five turnovers), they were able to lead 45-39 despite making only 15 field goals. They had 10 giveaways in the second half. In all, that's seven fewer than Toronto but down the stretch the mistakes were crippling. There was a shot-clock turnover with 2:39 left as they played hot potato with the ball and Beal gave it away to Joseph soon after. 

MORE WIZARDS: Wizards make change at power forward against Raptors

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

The Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Important victory: Saturday night's game between the Wizards and Pacers had several layers of playoff implications on the line and it was Washington who rose to the occasion and showed the urgency commensurate for the stakes.

By beating the Pacers, the Wizards locked up the season series between the teams, two games to one. That gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding if the teams finish the regular season with the same record. That could very well prove paramount. As of now, the Wizards and Pacers have the same record (40-30) with 12 games to go.

The season series advantage means the Wizards are above the Pacers in the standings despite having the same record. They moved into fourth place in the East with the win and the Cavs slotted back into third. There will likely be a lot more movement as these next few weeks play out, but the Wizards now hold an important edge over the Pacers.

The win also pushed the Wizards to 14-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. Wall could return this coming week or the week after and the Wizards have more than stayed afloat during his absence.

The Wizards' magic number to make the playoffs is now just five. 


Sato went off: The Wizards jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter mostly thanks to a hot start from Tomas Satoransky, who scored the Wizards' first five points and had 10 by the end of the first quarter.

Satoransky's floater was automatic. He dropped in several in the lane from all different angles. Satoransky was practicing the same shots, floaters off each foot, the day before in practice and it paid off.

It was a well-rounded night for Satoransky. In addition to his 12 points, he also had eight assists and five rebounds, including this one to find Marcin Gortat for the dunk:

Gortat came up big: Speaking of Gortat, the Wizards' big man had one of his best games of the season. He poured in 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists a steal and a block. Gortat shot 6-for-8, consistently having his way on the block.

The Pacers were without two of their best big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and Gortat took advantage of that. He was way too much for Al Jefferson.

The Pacers tried to roll with small-ball lineups using Trevor Booker and Thaddeus Young as their big men, but it didn't work. Gortat was too big for them and his teammates did a great job finding him for open looks.

Gortat's 18 points were his most since Jan. 3 when he had a season-high 21 against the Knicks. Lately, Gortat has seen his minutes dwindle with the increased role for Ian Mahinmi, so Saturday night must have felt good for the Polish Machine.


Bojan held in check: Bojan Bogdanovic, who spent part of last season with the Wizards, was a major factor in the first two matchups between Washington and the Pacers this season. He had 20 points in one game and 29 in another, each time getting hot from three.

The Wizards, though, made some adjustments in this one and held Bo Buckets in check. He didn't make his first shot until nearly the midway point of the second quarter and it was only because Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points, 18 minutes) lost his balance. Oubre stumbled backward, giving Bogdanovic a split second to get off an open three. That was the only shot he hit in the first half as he began the game 1-for-4.

Oubre did a good job harrassing Bogdanovic and not giving him space on the premiter. Otto Porter (eight points) and Bradley Beal (19 points) did as well. Both Porter and Beal stripped the ball out of Bogdanovic's hands early in the third quarter. Midway through the third, Bogdanovic got past Porter only to be called for an offensive foul on a collision with Gortat. All in all, it was a frustrating night for Bogdanovic, who had 11 points, three below his season average.

Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and when he's hot can alter games. But when you take his shots away, there's not much else he can do to hurt you. The Wizards did a good job taking away his strengths and making others beat them. Not having to focus on Turner and Sabonis certainly helped. 

Sessions is still in the rotation: It turns out those five games for Ramon Sessions over the course of his second 10-day contract weren't just an audition. Now that he has been signed for the rest of the season, Sessions is still getting the nod over Tim Frazier as the backup point guard.

Sessions logged 18 minutes and even played alongside Satoransky and Jodie Meeks in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had a sizable lead and head coach Scott Brooks decided to experiment with his lineups. That is something to keep in mind for when Wall comes back. Once he does, Sessions will be the third point guard and likely rarely see the court. But if they see something they like about him at shooting guard, that could open the door for more playing time possibilities.

Up next: The Wizards have three off-days before their next game. That will be on Wednesday when they head to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Season series on the line

The Wizards and Pacers square off for the third and final time this season on Saturday night and the game will represent the tiebreaker for the season series. The Wizards beat the Pacers in their first meeting on Feb. 5 and Indiana then got even on March 4. The first game did not feature Victor Oladipo. John Wall didn't play in either of them.

Whichever team wins on Saturday night will own the playoff tiebreaker, meaning that team will get the better seed in the even they finish with the same regular season record. Right now only one game separates the teams, so that could definitely come into play. With a win over the Pacers, the Wizards could also move into third place in the East. They would tie the Pacers by record and own the head-to-head series. The one variable there is the Cavs play the Bulls on Saturday. If they win and the Pacers lose, the Cavs will be in third.


Wizards have been struggling

The Wizards won their last game on the road against the Celtics, but have lost five of their last eight overall. They remain in good shape in the big picture, but could use some positive momentum. A win over the Pacers would certainly give them that with three off days awaiting on the other end before they head out to San Antonio to face the Spurs.

Defense has been the problem. During this eight-game stretch, they have allowed the second-most points in the paint per game (53.8), the ninth-most points per game (111.0) overall and the fourth-highest opponents shooting percentage (49.3). 


Pacers are tough

The Pacers may be missing two of their best big men on Saturday as Domantas Sabonis has been ruled out and Myles Turner is questionable. Both are nursing sprained left ankles. That bodes well for the Wizards' defense in the paint, but Indiana still has plenty of firepower.

Oladipo is having a terrific season with averages of 23.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. There's also Bojan Bogdanovic, a former Wizards player who is averaging 14.0 points and shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three this year. Bogdanovic has scored 20 points or more in each of his games against the Wizards this season. The Pacers as a team have won six of their last eight.


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