The Washington Wizards lost to the Toronto Raptors 130-119 in Game 2 of their first round playoff series on Tuesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...
Down 0-2: After a rough few days north of the border, the Wizards now travel home to Washington with their backs against the wall and their season inching closer to the brink. Not only do they face an 0-2 deficit against the top-seeded Raptors, but the second loss featured some low, and at times, embarrassing moments.
Though they made it interesting by cutting the Raptors' lead to five with over seven minutes to go, the Wizards had their doors blown off in Game 2. With about four minutes to go, Washington took their stars out with their eyes on Game 3. They gave up 130 points, the most a Wizards/Bullets team has allowed in the playoffs since 1986.
The bright side is that this series may be far from over. What happened in Toronto is what was supposed to happen. The Raptors won both of their home games. There could still be plenty of basketball yet to play.
There are precedents. Last year, the Celtics lost the first two games gainst the Bulls, but won the series. Back in 2005, the the Wizards went down 0-2 in the first round to the Chicago Bulls, then won the next four games and the series.
The problem is that it doesn't happen often. Teams that go up 2-0 in 7-game playoff series are 72-6 all-time.
Stranger things have happened and the Wizards will need them to happen again to save their season.
A disastrous start: The Wizards came into this one hoping for a better defensive effort, particularly from three. The exact opposite transpired.
The Raptors didn't just get hot early, they forced the Wizards into one of their worst halves in franchise playoff history. Toronto dropped 44 points in the first quarter, a franchise record for the Raptors and the most a Wizards or Bullets team had allowed in a postseason quarter since 1965. That was so long ago, they were known as the Baltimore Bullets and were playing the St. Louis Hawks.
It didn't get much better in the second quarter. By halftime, the Raptors had 76 points, tied for the most ever allowed by a Wizards/Bullets team in half in the playoffs. They also gave up 76 back in 1987 against the Detroit Pistons.
DeMar DeRozan, who had 37 points and shot 60.9 percent in the game, had 20 points in the first half. Jonas Valanciunas, who finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds, had 12 rebounds in the first half alone. Amazingly, the Wizards shot 51.2 percent in the first half yet went to the locker room with an 18-point deficit.
Not Beal's best: The version of Bradley Beal that averaged 28.8 points against the Raptors has yet to show up in this series. After posting a solid 19 points in Game 1, Beal was absent for much of Game 2. He ended up with only nine points on 3-for-11 shooting, well below the All-Star level we're accustomed to seeing from the Wizards shooting guard.
Part of it was foul trouble. Beal picked up two fouls in the first quarter and his fourth in the third. That may have thrown him off, but there's no question the Wizards need more production from Beal to compete in this series.
Given Beal's history and how good he was during the regular season, particularly against Toronto, it does not seem likely Beal will be held down for long in this series. He's due and a breakout game from him might be just what the Wizards need to get back into this thing.
Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris also struggled. Gortat played only 12 minutes and managed just three rebounds and did not score. Morris had six points and four rebounds in 27 minutes.
Too many threes, again: Three-point defense was a big point of emphasis for head coach Scott Brooks following Game 1 when the Raptors poured in a franchise playoff record 16 and shot 51.7 percent. Though the Wizards were intent on stopping them, they had no such luck.
Toronto came out on fire from the perimeter, making their first three attempts and four of their first five. They had seven threes in the first quarter and 11 by halftime, more than their season average of 10.2 per game. They finished with 13 threes despite shooting just 37.1 percent.
Again, many guys got involved. C.J. Miles led the way with four threes and DeRozan had three. Eight different guys hit at least one three for Toronto.
Lawson shines in debut: Brooks made a surprising lineup decision early in the first quarter. When John Wall picked up his second foul, it was not Tomas Satoransky who was called off the bench. It was Ty Lawson, in to make his first appearance with the Wizards after signing as a free agent on the day after the regular season ended.
Lawson actually played really well. He knocked down his first shot, a three-pointer, and had eight assists in the first half in just 12 minutes of work. He finished with 14 points and eight assists. His eight assists were the most a player has accrued off the bench in the playoffs in the past two seasons.
It was Lawson and Mike Scott who led the way for the Wizards' bench. Scott chipped in with 20 points and the Wizards' second unit outscored that of the Raptors' 63-39. It didn't matter.
Up next: The series shifts back to Washington for Game 3 where the Wizards will attempt to claw back with their first win. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.
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