Wizards

Wizards dig themselves in early hole vs. Raptors, blown out again

Wizards

The Washington Wizards lost to the Raptors 102-90 in Toronto on Sunday night. Here are five observations from what went down...

Another blowout loss

Following their impressive start to the season, the Wizards have since been susceptible to laying an egg here and there. Usually, their worst moments have been spread out and accompanied by bounceback wins. But on Sunday they got blasted for the second straight game and for the second consecutive game they trailed by 25 or more points.

Certainly, that is worrisome. After losing to the Cavs at home on Friday, they began a three-game road trip with a loss at the Toronto Raptors that saw them go down by 25 points in the first half. While they would later cut the lead to 12, it was too late for a comeback.

Washington dug themselves an early hole because they couldn't score the ball. The Wizards managed only 12 points in the first, their lowest output in a first quarter since 2012 and their worst quarter of the season so far. The Wizards shot 5-for-22 (22.7%) in the frame.

The Raptors took a 2-1 lead in the season series with the final matchup set for Jan. 21 on ESPN. That one will be at Capital One Arena. 

The Wizards have now lost three of their last four games. They fell to 14-10 on the season.

Siakam is good

In the first two meetings between these teams this season, Raptors All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam did not play due to injury. It turns out he makes a difference, as Siakam got rolling in the first half and there was nothing the Wizards could do to stop him.

 

Siakam had 24 points by halftime on 8-for-13 from the field. He finished the game with 31 points, six rebounds and three assists, shooting 10-for-21 overall and 10-for-12 from the line. Siakam is a really good player who had the hot hand, but it was a bit troubling because the Wizards were hoping their defense was better equipped to handle tall scoring wings this season. They didn't look like it on Sunday.

Gafford in foul trouble

Siakam getting to the line early and often helped Toronto get Wizards big man Daniel Gafford into quick foul trouble. He had two fouls in his first 2:38 and three within his first five minutes on the floor. That left Montrezl Harrell (six points, 14 rebounds) as their only center for much of the first half and it was a rare night where he didn't find his offensive rhythm early.

Gafford being out also dealt a blow to the Wizards' defense and the Raptors took advantage. They scored 40 points in the second quarter, which combined with Washington's cold shooting helped Toronto build a 25-point first-half lead. 

KCP was rolling

It was a rough night for the Wizards overall, particularly on offense, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was a bright spot. He had a season-high 26 points in 28 minutes, going 8-for-9 overall, 4-for-4 from three and 6-for-6 from the line. He also played some solid defense, per usual. 

Caldwell-Pope has been one of the Wizards' better scorers recently. He has reached double-figures in seven of their last nine games, each time scoring at least 14 points. Caldwell-Pope isn't the flashiest player, but he deserves some credit for his reliability this season. He is one of only four Wizards players not to miss a game so far.

Beal in a slump

It was another off-shooting night for Bradley Beal, who continues to search for consistency on offense. He had 14 points but shot just 4-for-12 overall and 1-for-3 from 3-point range. Since he scored 26 points and shot 10-for-14 against the Mavs on Nov. 27, Beal has averaged 16.3 points while shooting 37.1%. He has scored 19 points or less in four straight games for the first time since 2019.

Beal is now shooting 42.8% on the season and 26.4% from deep. At some point, given his track record, it's expected those numbers will go up. But here we are in December and he's still searching, especially from long range.

While Beal isn't shooting the ball well, he continues to stand out as a distributor. He had seven assists in this game, the 12 time in his last 15 appearances that he's recorded at least seven dimes.