Wizards

Wizards

The Washington Wizards lost to the Toronto Raptors 102-92 on Friday night in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series. Here's analysis of what went down...

It's all over: The long, strange and eventful ride that was the 2017-18 season for the Washington Wizards came to a quiet end on Friday night, as they fell to the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 and did so in familiar fashion.

The Wizards' 2016-17 ended largely because the supporting cast around John Wall and Bradley Beal did not do their part in the decisive game. The same thing happened again.

Wall had 23 points, eight assists, and five rebounds. Beal had 32 points. But their third-leading scorer, Markieff Morris, amassed only 12 points. Wall and Beal scored 30 of the Wizards' 39 second-half points.

Washington was down a key player, as Otto Porter was injured, but that is a tough way to lose. They didn't move the ball like they know they should have. The result was just 12 team assists and a 40.5 percent shooting night.

This is the first time they have lost in the first round in the Wall and Beal era. This defeat snapped a streak of eight straight home playoff wins for the Wizards.

The Wizards will enter another offseason with questions about the supporting cast around their two star guards.

Otto was out: The Wizards played this game without one of their best players, as earlier in the day news broke that Porter would be out indefinitely following a procedure on his left leg to relieve blood pressure from a contusion he suffered sometime in Game 4. Though Porter was limited for much of the series due to injuries to both legs, he left big shoes to fill.

 

Kelly Oubre, Jr. got the start in Porter's place and head coach Scott Brooks gave Tomas Satoransky an extended opportunity as his backup. It was the first time this series that Satoransky played extended minutes since Game 2.

The Raptors, conversely, got an important piece back for Game 6 as point guard Fred VanVleet made his return after missing the first five games of the series with a right shoulder injury. It was clear early on what the Raptors had been missing, as VanVleet entered and immediately made an impact. 

VanVleet found Jonas Valanciunas with an alley-oop lob in his first minute of action and soon after that knocked down his first jumper. He finished with five points, four assists, and four rebounds.

VanVleet played crucial minutes in the fourth quarter and helped take pressure off their own star guards, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. DeRozan had 16 points, his lowest total of the series, but they still had enough to win.

Beal was back: Beal had an up-and-down series. He was held in check in the first two games, both losses, then unstoppable in Games 3 and 4, both wins.

The Wizards got the good version of Beal in Game 6, as he came out firing from long range. Beal had 14 points in the first half and scored 18 in the second. It was Beal's 18th career postseason game with 25 or more points.

With Porter out, Beal's scoring was extra important and he certainly did his part. The rest of the team, however, barely held up their end of the bargain.

Oubre had three points and shot 1-for-6. Marcin Gortat had two points and seven rebounds. The bench combined for 20 points compared to 34 for Toronto.

If it weren't for Wall and Beal, who logged 40 and 43 minutes, respectively, the Wizards wouldn't have been in this game. To a certain extent that is always the case, but they were a two-man show on this particular night.

The Raptors' depth allowed DeRozan to log only 33 minutes and Lowry only 31. 

Scott did his thing: One guy who did step up, at least early, was Mike Scott. He came off the bench and lit it up with eight points in his first five minutes on 3-for-4 shooting. Scott ended up with eight, however, as he cooled off in the second half.

It was another example of what Scott did so well this season. He provided instant offense off the Wizards' bench and it will probably get him paid handsomely this summer.

With little salary cap room to work with, it might be difficult for the Wizards to match Scott's price. Even if they can't, the signing was a boon for their front office. They took a chance on him with a veteran's minimum contract and he thoroughly outplayed the deal.

 

Up next: The offseason. The Wizards' season was a rollercoaster and the end result was a disappointment. It will be interesting to see what happens this summer, whether changes are made to their front office and most notably what happens to their roster. Will they make an aggressive move or bring the usuals back and chalk their 2017-18 season up to injuries? We shall see.

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