Mike Scott's comeback story took on new life with his Game 1 performance against the Raptors, a 14-point outburst off the Wizards' bench that was their only real answer to Toronto's vaunted second unit.
The Raptors' bench outscored their Wizards counterparts 42-21 and that deficit helped swing the game. Scott not only scored most of those points for Washington, but shot 7-for-10 from the field. The rest of the Wizards' bench went just 1-for-8 in the loss.
Scott was one of two Wizards players to post a positive net rating. He was +6 and John Wall was +2.
For Scott to impact a playoff game like this would have seemed improbable just one year ago. In order to earn a veteran's minimum contract for this season, Scott had to lose 25 pounds, overcome legal matters tied to a drug arrest and get his knee and ankle healthy for the first time in years.
Scott worked with an Atlanta-based trainer who goes by the nickname 'Mr. Shut Up and Train' to shed the weight. He worked out for the Wizards and then earned a one-year, prove-it deal with his hometown team. Scott grew up in nearby Chesapeake, Va. and then starred at the University of Virginia.
He once wondered and with good reason whether his NBA career would continue and that was not long ago. Now he's back and getting buckets on the playoff stage.
Scott, it should be noted, was part of what may have been the turning point of Game 1. With 10:02 left in the fourth quarter, Scott collided shoulders with Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry went flying to the floor and a Flagrant 1 was called.
Mike Scott flagrant one on Kyle Lowry pic.twitter.com/ZQpbNIwYwu— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) April 14, 2018
The Wizards were up three points at the time, but Toronto then went on a 7-0 run and a 26-14 surge to the finish. It was the most memorable moment of the game and one that could end up defining the series, but it shouldn't take away from what Scott did in Game 1 because he could play a significant role moving forward against Toronto.
Scott was the Wizards' most consistent bench player for long stretches during the regular season. He shot an impressive 52.7 percent from the field, 40.5 percent from three and a team-best 59 effective field goal percentage.
The Wizards will need that production to keep up with Toronto's bench. The Raptors' bench was fifth in the NBA in scoring this season with 41.8 points per game, while the Wizards were 16th with 35.6. In two wins vs. the Wizards during the regular season, the Raptors' second unit averaged 44.5 points.
Outside of Scott, the Wizards' bench did not carry their weight in Game 1. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who closed the season with his outside a shot a work in progress, went 1-for-4 and scored three points. He led the second unit with 11.5 points per game during the regular season.
Tomas Satoransky, who emerged as a consistent and efficient offensive player this season, managed only two points in Game 1. Oubre, Satoransky and Scott were essentially the only three bench players head coach Scott Brooks used as he tightened his rotation for the playoffs. Tim Frazier and Ian Mahinmi each played, but for less than four minutes apiece.
Scott's production could be even more essential in this series depending on the health of both Otto Porter and Markieff Morris. Porter is nursing a right lower leg strain and looked like he was favoring it in Game 1. Morris rolled his left ankle in Game 1 and was given Sunday's practice off. If Morris is held back whatsoever, Scott will be the guy to fill the void.
One year ago, Scott was dreaming of an NBA comeback. Now, after overcoming the odds, he is a key piece for the Wizards in their playoff series against the Raptors.
NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!