The Washington Wizards are drowning in the depths of Toronto as the Raptors have taken a commanding 2-0 series lead. In game one, the Raptors’ bench outplayed the Wizards’ starters and bench, while in game two DeMar DeRozan matched his career playoff-high in points with 37.
In a pivotal game three, Washington needs to win in order to keep the series alive. The way the Wizards have been playing, it’s highly unlikely they’ll come out victorious if they are forced to win out.
Typically after the first game, the losing team makes changes in order to fix the issues at hand. For Washington, it’s as if they’re still playing like it’s the middle of the regular season. Where is the playoff attitude, the aggression, the persona of knowing you belong here?
Looking at the previous two games, the main players bringing their game are Mike Scott and John Wall. Everyone else has slumped or basically disappeared. Sadly, there has been no ‘Playoff Bradley Beal‘ to depend on, and there is no idea when he will show up. Marcin Gortat has only scored 12 points in two games while playing a total of 41 minutes, and it’s now become a question of whether or not he should start in game three. Gortat played horribly in game two, shooting 0 for 4 while playing only 12 minutes. The rumor is that Scott could possibly start over him. Trying something new can’t hurt Washington at this point.
If the bench can come through like it did in game two, but add more in-depth scoring from the starters, the Wizards can pull off the victory. Adding Ty Lawson to the mix was a good move, as he was hot from beyond the arc and made sure those around him were involved. More of that needs to be seen in order to win in Toronto.
It’s possible for Washington to be in sync and dominate, but Wall can’t be the only one to show up and play his game. Beal and Otto Porter Jr. need be present and efficient. Scoring only nine points didn’t cut it for Beal as he has slumped throughout the playoffs.
DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE!!
Toronto scored 130 points in game two, and 44 of those were in the first quarter alone. Expecting starters to miss shots and leaving players like C.J. Miles and DeRozan open kept the Raptors’ lead at a max and forced Washington off their game. It doesn’t help that Toronto has out-rebounded Washington so far 86-69 in this series.
Washington has to come out scoring and have a strapped defense that forces turnovers on the Raptors’ end. If the Wizards continue to play hero basketball and not execute on both ends of the floor, then this series will end badly at home in Washington.