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

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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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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Jodie Meeks

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Jodie Meeks

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Jodie Meeks' season...

Player: Jodie Meeks

Position: Shooting guard

Age: 30

2017-18 salary: $3.3 million

2017-18 stats: 77 G, 14.5 mpg, 6.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.4 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.9 FG%, 34.3 3P%, 86.3 FT%, 49.1 eFG%, 111 ORtg, 112 DRtg

Best game: 11/29 at Sixers - 21 points, 4 rebounds, assist, steal, 5-for-11 FG, 3-for-6 3PT, 8-for-9 FT

Season review: The Wizards took a flier on Jodie Meeks last summer in what seemed at the time to be a low-risk contract with a potentially high reward, if he could stay healthy and play to his career norms. They were in obvious need of help at backup shooting guard and three-point shooting for their bench.

Meeks fell short of those expectations for a variety of reasons. Though he stayed healthy for the first time in years, he could not make shots at the clip the Wizards were hoping for. His field goal percentage was not far off from what he posted in recent years, but his three-point percentage was nowhere near the 38.8 percent he shot in his previous four seasons.

Meeks bottomed out midseason, shooting 28.9 percent from three in December and 28 percent in January. Those numbers ticked up beginning in February, but Meeks never fully gained the trust of his coaching staff. He rarely got hot enough to alter games and his best stat-lines often came in blowouts. 

There was a domino effect from Meeks' struggles, as starting shooting guard Bradley Beal had no one to spell him. As a result, Beal logged the fourth-most minutes of any NBA player this season.

For Meeks personally, it was a bittersweet year because staying healthy was no small feat. He had a run of bad luck and finally broke out of it this season. On the other hand, he never made the impact he felt he was capable of and that wasn't easy for a guy joining a new team and a new locker room.

Meeks' 2017-18 season was ultimately defined by more than his shooting woes. First, he expressed interest in a trade in February and did not get his wish. Then, he was suspended for allegedy using performance-enhancing drugs after the regular season ended. He was out for the playoffs and will miss the first 19 games of the 2018-19 season without pay as he waits out a 25-game ban.

Meeks may or may not serve that suspension as a member of the Wizards. He has a player option for next season worth $3.5 million. He has yet to inform the team of his decision, but the expectation is that he will pick it up. Given how poorly his season went and ended, it would likely be the smart move financially for him to opt in and hope for better results next season.

Potential to improve: Shooting percentage, perimeter defense, passing

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

Tim Frazier, PG

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Tim Frazier's season...

Player: Tim Frazier

Position: Point guard

Age: 27

2017-18 salary: $2 million

2017-18 stats: 59 G, 14.2 mpg, 3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.5 FG%, 30.4 3P%, 76.7 FT%, 44.5 eFG%, 105 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 1/27 at Hawks - 4 points, 14 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 2-for-5 FG

Season review: The Wizards tabbed Tim Frazier to be their backup point guard nearly a year ago when they sent a second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans on the eve of draft night. They viewed Frazier as the solution to their years-long search for a capable backup behind John Wall. Frazier had thrived as a replacement starter in New Orleans and the Wizards saw him as worth a draft pick, even though he had just one year left on his contract.

Frazier began the season as the primary backup point guard, but ultimately lost the job to Tomas Satoransky once Wall went out with a left knee injury. Frazier became the starter and Satoransky the backup, but through two weeks Satoransky outplayed him and became No. 2 on the depth chart once Wall returned. Then, when Wall went down for months late in the season, Satoransky started and Frazier backed him up.

Frazier never found consistency as he moved back and forth between roles. His minutes, points and assists averages were all career-lows.

The Wizards added competition to their roster for Frazier and Satoransky midseason, first by signing Ramon Sessions in March and then adding Ty Lawson just before the playoffs began. That led to Frazier being inactive for four of the Wizards' six postseason games.

All in all, it was a frustrating year for Frazier. He even had to deal with a broken nose and surgery to repair it after getting inadvertently kneed in the face by Bobby Portis in a game against the Bulls in February.

Frazier has been part of small group of Wizards players continuing to work out at the team facility this summer. He has been there along with Wall, Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith. That said, it does seem likely Frazier returns given how the Wizards used him this season. He was completely out of the rotation for extended periods of time.

Helping his cause in that regard is that the Wizards have his Bird rights, meaning they can re-sign him while going above the salary cap. They currently have five open roster spots and not much money to spend. Frazier could represent a cheap option and help them fill out their roster.

Potential to improve: Shooting, on-ball defense, consistency

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!