April 14, 2018 | Air Canada Centre | Toronto, ON
The Washington Wizards gave it they had against the Toronto Raptors; however, it was not enough as they were defeated, 114-106. Toronto finally won a Game 1 in the first round after previously being 0-9 in such games. The competitive basketball game featured seven ties and 15 lead changes. When it mattered most, the Wizards allowed the Raptors go on a 17-5 run in the fourth quarter even though All-Star DeMar DeRozen sat on the bench. Ultimately, the Raptors closed out the game on a 26-15 run after a flagrant foul call against Mike Scott. Regardless, the Wizards could not make a shot down the stretch and are now down 1-0 in this series.
(Photo: Getty Images)
John Wall Struggled From The Field
The point guard had a double-double by halftime, but he struggled to shoot inside the paint. Wall finished the night with 23 points, but only on an atrocious 6-for-20 (30 percent) from the field. He was just 3-for-15 inside the arc but was 3-for-5 from downtown. Although Wall struggled shooting, he did get his teammates going with 15 assists. On the other hand, Washington had 14 turnovers and Wall committed five of them. The 3-for-13 shooting in the paint is a huge anomaly for the five-time All-Star and could be a sign of his inability to get foul calls at times, which clearly frustrated him.
Mike Scott Was The Entire Bench
If the Wizards are going to win this series, they will need help from their second unit because the Raptors have a clear advantage there. Scott was the only player from the bench to show up in Game 1. In a combined 34 minutes of playing time, Kelly Oubre Jr., Ian Mahinmi, Tim Frazier, and Tomas Satoransky combined for seven points shooting 1-for-8 from the field collectively. Mahinmi seemed out of the rotation, but early foul trouble from Marcin Gortat gave him three minutes of play.Scott was the only player to have a positive +/- off the bench by chiming in with 14 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field. However, he was called for a costly flagrant one foul for a hard shoulder and forearm check to Kyle Lowry as he was driving. Lowry knocked down both free throws and the Raptors never looked back.
Toronto Fire From Deep
Yes, it is April, but snow and freezing rain has been flying around Toronto all day forcing the Raptors to forego their tailgate. That must have inspired them to warm-up the Air Canada Centre, as they knocked 16 of their 30 three-point attempts. The Wizards had no answers for players such as C.J. Miles who had 12 points in 19 minutes on 4-for-7 shooting from behind the arc. He was not the only one though as former Utah Utes’ guard Delon Wright nearly outscored everyone on the Wizards’ bench with his 18 points. Wright was 7-for-10 from the field and 3-for-4 from downtown including pivotal buckets down the stretch. The Raptors managed to do this without their backup point guard Fred VanVleet, but he may be back for Game 2.
Markieff Morris’ Ankle
Morris went down late in the fourth quarter and head coach Scott Brooks had to call a timeout to check on the power forward. Morris needed some assistance getting up but did return to the game. It is unclear how severely his hurt his ankle, if at all, but it will likely swell and tighten up when the adrenaline stops pumping. Throughout the game, Morris was a X-factor with 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the field. Washington does not have a game for a couple days, which will allow time for the swelling to go down with treatment.
There are no such things as moral victories, especially in the playoffs. Fact is, the Wizards are three games away from starting their off-season. Nevertheless, this team played with effort and gave it their all despite mental lapses on defense. Yes, late in the fourth quarter they went could not find the bottom of the net and at times it seemed as if Wall was attempting to play hero-ball. Overall, the Wizards played a good game but were the victims of fire shooting. If they can get some other guys to contribute and keep up the same level of effort throughout the entire game the outcome could be different when the play in Game 2 on Tuesday night.