The rivalry between the Wizards and Toronto goes back several seasons, and it blossomed with what took place in the postseason two years ago. Wednesday, in the home opener, the Wizards couldn't pull out their first win of the season with DeMar DeRozan's game-high 40 points.
John Wall (33 points, 11 assists, five rebounds) led Washington followed by Otto Porter (23 points, 13 rebounds), Bradley Beal (15 points) and Marcin Gortat (15 points, 10 rebounds).
The Wizards play Friday vs. the Atlanta Hawks, who beat them in the regular-season opener for both teams.
- True to his word, Wizards coach Scott Brooks blended starters with his reserves. Instead of Jason Smith, who didn’t play, he used Gortat to begin the second quarter. He eventually had to have Wall come in for Trey Burke who had yet another rough outing. The Wizards took a 27-15 lead in the first quarter but it all but subsided once Brooks went to his bench at 3:32. Toronto went on 12-2 run to cut the deficit to two.
- How long Burke keeps his backup job to Wall was an ongoing question until Tomas Satoransky, who is bigger at 6-7 and projected to be a much better player, played and helped lead a comeback. Brooks may have to resort to keeping Wall or Beal on the court with the second unit at all times. Instead of going to Burke to sub for Wall late in the third quarter, it was Satoransky who came in with Thornton in the final 2:42. Brooks began the fourth with a three-guard lineup. Burke wasn't one of them.
- DeRozan had 10 points in the first quarter, but he did most of that damage against the second unit. Against the starters, he wasn’t nearly as successful. Gortat’s pick-and-roll coverage was excellent. He didn’t allow DeRozan free runs into the lane so he could build momentum and drain floaters over the top. DeRozan was forced to fade way and shoot going away from the rim. He still got to the foul line seven times in the first half. Still, he got to the foul line 19 times
- Kelly Oubre figured to have a better shot defending DeRozan because of his length and athleticism, but still got overaggressive. DeRozan got away and Oubre ran him down, not anticipating the stop to draw contact with the pump fake and then the shot. That put DeRozan on the line. All Oubre has to do is play with a bit more calm
- Porter was the best player on the floor because of what he did on both ends. His defense on DeRozan kept the scorer well under 50% shooting, he attacked the glass for offensive rebounds 1 vs. 3 and he made aggressive moves to the basket and played through contact. This might've been the most complete game of his career.