Raptors 100, Wizards 93
TORONTO -- This is the preseason, so you really shouldn't place too much emphasis on the final result, especially when you consider that Brendan Haywood was out with a sprained ankle, Caron Butler and DeShawn Stevenson were given the night off, and training camp invitee Paul Davis was on the floor in the closing seconds.
The Wizards are 1-2, but there were some encouraging signs from this game, and most played out in the third period, when the Wizards lineup of Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Mike Miller, Fabricio Oberto and Randy Foye outscored the Raptors, 33-25, shot almost 58 percent from the floor and held Toronto to just 37 percent field goal shooting.
The driving force behind that performance was Agent Third Quarter. For the second exhibition game in a row, Arenas came out determined to get his points while also looking for his teammates. Arenas scored 12 points, handed out three assists, and even was called for a technical foul when he appeared to get fouled and lost the ball out of bounds. He might not be talking to reporters, but the replacement referees sure got a mouthful on Sunday.
In the third quarter of the past two games, Arenas has scored 24 points and handed out eight assists. "There is no question, he is starting to pick things up. He gets to the basket whenever he wants and that's one of the reasons offensively we started flowing," Coach Flip Saunders said. "He puts so much pressure on the defense, if he can continue to play as he is, be aggressive offensively, yet distribute as he's doing, it's going to make it easy for all those guys."
Arenas, again, was slow to get involved at the opening tip. He missed his first five shots in the first period and didn't look like he wanted to take any of them. But when he returned in the second half, Arenas hit an 18-foot jumper, a corner three-pointer (yes, Arenas shot two three-pointers on Sunday, making one), a driving reverse layup and another 16-foot jumper. He also found Jamison cutting to the basket for two layups and hit Andray Blatche for a nifty lob.
"You can tell, the first quarter, he was going through the motions, but in the third quarter, he made the game easier," Antawn Jamison said after scoring a game-high 21 points with 10 rebounds. "It's amazing, when he puts his mind to it, it's difficult for the opponents. It's an added bonus for us to see that he's healthy and able to play the way that he's capable of playing."
Arenas had four turnovers and has gotten in trouble with carelessness or forcing things of late, but he has started to find a comfort level it seems. It should also be noted that Arenas has abandoned his tradition of whirling the ball around his waist three times at the foul line.
Foye seemed to also find a rhythm in the third, as he scored eight points.
The difference in this game was the disparity in free throws. The Raptors attempted 40 and made 36, while the Wizards attempted 21 and made 16. You would assume that the Wizards got all of their points off jumpers, but they actually outscored the Raptors in the paint, 46-42.
Blatche, who by the way has ditched his headband completely, had his second consecutive double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but he perhaps more impressive with his passing. Blatche had four assists, connecting with JaVale McGee for three alley-oop lobs. McGee had another solid effort with 13 points and three rebounds, but he fouled out, looking noticeably fatigued as he walked off the floor in the fourth quarter. McGee providing highlight dunks is nothing new, but he also showed a little something while battling a bulkier Chris Bosh in the second period. Bosh gained about 15 pounds this offseason in an effort to get stronger, but when he tried to dunk on McGee, McGee batted away the ball (even though he didn't credit for a block on the stat sheet).
Saunders though was disappointed that the second unit (Blatche, McGee, Nick Young, Mike James and Dominic McGuire) couldn't close, surrendering 30 points in the fourth quarter. "That unit we put in in the second [quarter] and the fourth [quarter] did some things but didn't finish well," he said.. Had some key mistakes, but those guys haven't been in those situations a lot. They are asked to finish games, but that's how you find things out. As a coach, that's how I find things out. The farther you go and the more you give guys opportunities like this, you'll see who will be able to help you and who won't be able to help you."
Paul Davis has no shot at making the Wizards, but it hasn't been because of the way he has played through training camp. He isn't half bad. Some of the writers have jokingly called him "Paul Songaila" since he wears Darius Songaila's No. 9 and plays a similer below the rim game. Davis got his first run of the preseason after McGee fouled out and scored five points with two rebounds in just 2:37.
Another encouraging sign was that the Wizards again defended the three-point line well. The Raptors missed 13 of their 15 attempts. In their three preseason games, opponents are shooting just 22.4 percent (13 for 58) from beyond the three-point line.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Gooddad | October 11, 2009 8:24 PM
Posted by: dfresh58 | October 11, 2009 8:24 PM
Posted by: Gooddad | October 11, 2009 8:30 PM
Posted by: SteveMG | October 11, 2009 8:44 PM
Posted by: h20law2000 | October 11, 2009 8:46 PM
Posted by: Marine4Life51 | October 11, 2009 8:55 PM
Posted by: ZardsFan1 | October 11, 2009 9:33 PM
Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 11, 2009 9:44 PM
Posted by: dandyhuffman | October 11, 2009 10:26 PM
Posted by: original_mark | October 11, 2009 10:38 PM
Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 11, 2009 10:40 PM
Posted by: crs-one | October 11, 2009 10:43 PM
Posted by: ZardsFan1 | October 11, 2009 11:08 PM
Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 11, 2009 11:12 PM
Posted by: Darnell1 | October 11, 2009 11:51 PM
Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 12, 2009 12:53 AM
Posted by: dandyhuffman | October 12, 2009 1:01 AM
Posted by: garrybrown | October 12, 2009 6:21 AM
Posted by: Blurred | October 12, 2009 7:40 AM
Posted by: zxhoya | October 12, 2009 8:26 AM
Posted by: leopsan | October 12, 2009 8:52 AM
Posted by: pk24 | October 12, 2009 9:24 AM
Posted by: ZardsFan1 | October 12, 2009 9:28 AM
Posted by: rphilli721 | October 12, 2009 9:33 AM
Posted by: mabkhar | October 12, 2009 9:40 AM
Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 12, 2009 9:44 AM
Posted by: Blurred | October 12, 2009 10:12 AM
Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 12, 2009 10:49 AM
Posted by: zinger1 | October 12, 2009 10:59 AM
Posted by: rickgonz | October 12, 2009 12:18 PM
Posted by: sagaliba | October 12, 2009 1:07 PM
Posted by: crs-one | October 12, 2009 4:14 PM
Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2009 5:30 PM