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Film study: Wizards' offense halts in final 5 seconds of regulation

Film study: Wizards' offense halts in final 5 seconds of regulation

The record is clear about the Wizards' inability to close games out at the end of regulation. The coach can been Randy Wittman or Scott Brooks. The supporting cast can include Trevor Ariza, Paul Pierce or Jared Dudley. 

According to Elias Sports Bureau, John Wall is 0-for-16 when shooting in the final five seconds of a game to tie or win. In Wall's seven seasons, the Wizards are 6 of 47 overall shooting in those situations. Bradley Beal is 1-for-4. 

The Wizards are 1-2 in overtimes this season. In each game, the Wizards had a chance to win on the final possession in regulation:

– Oct. 30 in a 112-103 loss to Memphis: Wall admitted after the fact that he made the wrong read. Mike Conley doesn't allow him to turn the corner on this drive and Vince Carter prevents a shot. Wall went away from Beal, who is getting a screen from Gortat to get him a possible open look. Beal cleared that strong side of the floor also to create better floor balance. At about 3 seconds, a quick pass out to Beal, if he flares to the corner to lose James Ennis, likely gets him deeper but better shot. Instead they go into the extra session tied at 100.

– Nov. 28 in a 101-95 win vs. Sacramento: This is a simple pick-and-roll action with Wall and Gortat and it's the right play considering the personnel on the floor. They get the Kings' worst frontline defender, DeMarcus Cousins, switched onto Wall and he settles for a fallaway jump shot over the 6-11 center. There are two better options looking at you here. Matt Barnes, who is matched up against Markieff Morris who is spotting at the three-point line, and Gortat diving to the basket. Darren Collsion has switched off and Barnes will have to help if Wall makes this read. The other, simpler read is Wall going straight at Cousins who is playing soft and squared up and banking on his speed being better than the big man's lateral movement. And if Wall misses, as long as he gets the ball on the rim Gortat is in position to clean it up no one his size in the play. Another adjustment here is not running the screen-roll to Beal's side of the floor. Garrett Temple, the Kings' best defender, is blanketing him in the strong side corner and running the play to this side kills the spacing. The Wizards go into the extra session tied at 92 but win this time.

– Nov. 30 in a 126-115 loss vs. Oklahoma City: This looks like the right move. Morris screens Russell Westbrook off Wall, who then gets switched onto by Jerami Grant. It appears that Wall drove left with the intention to pass as he knew that Morris would have a mismatch with Westbrook at the rim. The pass isn't clean, almost turns into a steal and Otto Porter misses the shot as he recovers the loose ball. Wall had Grant beat on his first step but discontinued his attack to the rim which allowed him recover. If he attacks the rim and misses the shot, the odds of Morris cleaning it up are better. Morris' chances aren't good anyway as he allowed Westbrook to sneak inside of him on his roll to the basket to takeaway the position and passing angle. If Morris beats Westbrook to the spot, it's an easy pass from Wall at the rim. This appears to be why he was indecisive when getting in the air.

– Nov. 4, 2015 in a 102-99 win vs. San Antonio: This is the biggest moment of Beal's career. Last season, he hit this game-winning shot over the Spurs at Verizon Center. It's not about who takes the last shot. Compare what you see here -- mutliple screens, including one by the eventual shooter Beal on a brush -- and how much more better balanced the floor looks. This is tougher to defend. Marcin Gortat screens for Wall to get the ball which gives him space to operate. Then he pins two defenders, his own man LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, as Beal fills the slot on the opposite side of the floor. But before Beal does that, he brush screens Green to give Wall more space to make an easy pass. Green is so locked into Wall, he's deceived as Gortat then screens him as he tries to fight through. The ball is reversed and Beal gets nothing but real estate for an open shot. Another thing to note here is the screen by Gortat on Leonard, who is trying to chase Beal as he goes to ball screen. That ram screen makes it difficult for defenses to help. Leonard can't recover and Aldridge is late getting to Beal on what's a mismatch from that distance. 

The pick-and-roll between Wall and Morris wasn't a bad idea. It got the Wizards the mismtach they wanted. But they just don't seem comfortable and able to execute that down the stretch the way they do earlier in games.

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Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard out against Wizards

The Wizards will catch a break on Saturday night when they host the Toronto Raptors in the second game of their regular season, as Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard is being held out due to rest.

Leonard, who has been dominant so far for the 2-0 Raptors, is being limited in back-to-backs after he missed 73 games last season due to a quadriceps injury. The Raptors played the night before against the Celtics.

With Leonard out, the Raptors will likely rely on C.J. Miles and O.G. Anunoby at the small forward position. Shooting guard Delon Wright is also out with a shoulder injury.

Though Leonard and Wright are out of the mix, Toronto still has plenty of talent including All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry is averaging 21 points, seven assists and 3.5 rebounds through two games. 

Serge Ibaka has been their third-leading scorer with 15 points per game to go along with 6.5 rebounds. They also acquired Danny Green in the Leonard deal and he's off to a strong start with 12.5 points and five rebounds per game.

Leonard's absence may be noticed more on the defensive end, as he is one of the best in the NBA on the perimeter. That could make things a bit easier for Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr.

The Wizards and Raptors next play on Nov. 23. That game is in Toronto.

 

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Three things to watch for in Wizards' first matchup with Raptors

Three things to watch for in Wizards' first matchup with Raptors

John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

Here are three things to watch...

Will Howard play?

Once again, we await word from head coach Scott Brooks on the status of Dwight Howard. Howard, who missed all of the Wizards' preseason with a piriformis injury, was a gametime decision for the opener on Thursday. He ended up not playing, but appeared very close to finally making his debut.

Saturday night could be a different story, though we won't know until shortly before gametime. The Wizards' training staff will evaluate him pregame and make the call. If he can't go, Ian Mahinmi will get the nod as starter like he did against Miami.

Need more Otto

Though it wasn't the reason why the Wizards lost to the Heat, it certainly stood out in the box score how Otto Porter Jr. went without a three-point attempt in the opener. Porter finished third in three-point percentage last season with a 44.1 clip. He simply has to be more involved in the offense.

It will be interesting to see what adjustment the Wizards make to create more opportunities for Porter, and how Porter responds. All parties involved insist it is a mix of several factors, including a need for Porter to simply be more aggressive. That won't be easy against a tough Raptors defense, but expect Porter to get up plenty of threes in this one.

Leonard is out

This game was set to be the first matchup between the Wizards and the revamped Raptors, who added perennial All-NBA selection Kawhi Leonard in the biggest trade of the offseason. But it turns out, Leonard will not play.

Toronto is resting Leonard, who played in only nine games all of last season due to a quadriceps injury. It's understandable, given the Raptors played the night before against the tough Boston Celtics.

With Leonard out, All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry will be a big focus. They also got guard Danny Green in the Leonard deal and he's off to an excellent start. He's averaging 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals while shooting 50 percent from three so far. Getting him in the trade was a very underrated move by Toronto.

 

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