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.

By Michael Lee |  October 11, 2009; 7:50 PM ET
Previous: Wizards (1-1) at Raptors (1-2) | Next: Morning Buzz

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1st

Posted by: Gooddad | October 11, 2009 8:24 PM

I'd still like to see us win most of these games. Preseason hoops isn't as meaningless as preseason football, for example. Boston, Cleveland, and Orlando are a combined 8-1. On some level, winning these "meaningless" games helps breed a winning attitude.

Posted by: dfresh58 | October 11, 2009 8:24 PM

They need to televise more games. If hockey, football, and baseball pre-season games are on I want more basketball!

Posted by: Gooddad | October 11, 2009 8:30 PM

How's the 3-point defense?

They were dreadful last year as teams that made that second pass would almost always get an open look.

Posted by: SteveMG | October 11, 2009 8:44 PM

Guard play from everyone except Gil seems singularly unimpressive. That needs to change.

Posted by: h20law2000 | October 11, 2009 8:46 PM

I agree with Mike's assessment of Paul Songaila. The kid's really not so bad, i watched the wizards training camp on NBA TV and it was obvious that he's got some hustle and skills. Too bad this city can't give him a real chance.

Posted by: Marine4Life51 | October 11, 2009 8:55 PM

what did Mike Miller with the his starting opportunity? How'd Nick Young do? Who's got the early lead for the 2 spot?

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | October 11, 2009 9:33 PM

"...looks like another bad game for GA. Two games in a row where the other PG picks his pocket, in addition ot multiple bad passes for turnovers. What's on his mind? Doesnt seem to be preparing for the NBA regular season.

Posted by: oddjob1 | October 11, 2009 6:04 PM"

His mind is on his money, and his money is on his mind.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 11, 2009 9:44 PM

Michael Lee downplayed the lost because Haywood and Stevenson didn't play?????????????????????????????????? What a homer!

Posted by: dandyhuffman | October 11, 2009 10:26 PM

I guess Dejuan Blairs game the other day was just an aberration. Maybe some of you guys were right. He only had 4 rebounds in 26 minutes today. Never mind that he also has 28 points on 11 for 13 shooting. This guy is a bum...not worth a second rounder.

Posted by: original_mark | October 11, 2009 10:38 PM

"Michael Lee downplayed the lost because Haywood and Stevenson didn't play?????????????????????????????????? What a homer!

Posted by: dandyhuffman | October 11, 2009 10:26 PM "

And Bosh only played 21 min and had no impact and the Raptors still won.

MeTawn also got his standard 20-10 in another loss.

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=291011028

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 11, 2009 10:40 PM

Michael Lee downplayed the lost because Haywood and Stevenson didn't play?????????????????????????????????? What a homer!

Posted by: dandyhuffman | October 11, 2009 10:26 PM

nice job of manipulating his words to suit your agenda.

he downplayed the *loss* because of haywood, stevenson, and some other guy.

also, preseason usually doesn't warrant such emphatic punctuation. but i mean, if you want to mail it in before the season even starts, that's cool.

Posted by: crs-one | October 11, 2009 10:43 PM

Original_Mark, I am designating you the official DaJaun Blair scout. Please remind all of us of his production this year b/c he was exactly what this roster needed. There was no good reason to pass on him. Stupid.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | October 11, 2009 11:08 PM

"Original_Mark, I am designating you the official DaJaun Blair scout. Please remind all of us of his production this year b/c he was exactly what this roster needed. There was no good reason to pass on him. Stupid.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | October 11, 2009 11:08 PM "

DaJuan Blair probably would have gotten little PT b/c of MeTawn and AB in the lineup.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 11, 2009 11:12 PM

I hope the new warmups are a sign new uniforms are on the way!

I remember being so happy Dejuan Blair was still on the board when our pick was up, then so surprised and perplexed we didn't take him. It seemed so amazingly obvious.

Why does Davis have no chance of making the team? We need more frontcourt depth, as this game showed, and we have an open roster spot. If he's playing good and fitting in why does he have no chance? He's a guy at league minimum.

Miller's got to be the starting 2.

Posted by: Darnell1 | October 11, 2009 11:51 PM

Looks like the Raptors were more aggressive and didn't just settle for J's.

Raptors took 19 more FT's than Les BouleS, and also outrebounded Les BouleS.

Again, MeTawn Jamison...a "power forward" in this league, ends up with 2 FT's. Karl Malone, he is not.

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=291011028

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 12, 2009 12:53 AM

Oh sorry, I didn't see Butler's name in the story. Anyway I was 2/3 correct and I hope the Wizards win the championship this season. So there see how fair I am.

Posted by: dandyhuffman | October 12, 2009 1:01 AM

Looks like the Raptors were more aggressive and didn't just settle for J's.

Raptors took 19 more FT's than Les BouleS, and also outrebounded Les BouleS.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 12, 2009 12:53 AM


"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."

Just an observation from actually reading what Mike Lee wrote in this blog, especially since none of us got to see the game.

Posted by: garrybrown | October 12, 2009 6:21 AM

mark;

I was going to post something about Vlairs 22 pt game last night...saying maybe I had been wrong. But my boy needed a bedtime story and never got back to it.

You may be right. 2nd rounders rarely mean much, especially in as weak a draft ad this was, but he may have been that one piece of gold in a pile of crap.

At worst, he would be great trade bait, matched with James (who had a semi decent game, by the way) for a mid season vet.

Let's see how he holds up til December before we get too excited though. Remember, NBA preseason is 1/3 as long as the whole NCAA season.

Posted by: Blurred | October 12, 2009 7:40 AM

Mike Miller started and played 32 minutes and only took 4 shots (2-4)? He needs to be more agressive with his outside shot.

Good to see Randy Foye play well and also my, Javale McGee continue to impress.

Posted by: zxhoya | October 12, 2009 8:26 AM

definitely like Paul Davis' game..yeah alot like Songaila. No chance of making the team, but hope he gets picked up somewhere. Nice to see McGee and Blatche play'n better together. Are the rest of the preseason games on CSN? Raptors wasn't on.

Posted by: leopsan | October 12, 2009 8:52 AM

Couldn't watch or listen to the game (it started at 3:00 am in the part of the world where I am located). Can someone kindly tell me how D-Mac played. From the stats it looks like his usual - good hustle for no offense, but he often does so many little things that don't show up in the boxscore...

Posted by: pk24 | October 12, 2009 9:24 AM

The reason D. Blair would have been a good addition is b/c he does what no one else on this squad wants to do: bang down low, grab rebounds, and play with his back to the basket. Having him on your second unit would increase the number of second chance points and easy buckets. Instead, when the wiz look to their second unit, you'll see a bunch of jump shooters and at least one softy, big man who collapses at the thought of contact.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | October 12, 2009 9:28 AM

Good or bad, it's preseason!!!

Same goes for Blair. Again, talk to me if he is putting up any numbers during the regular season

Arenas, same thing. If he is still being quirky and taking quarters off during the regular season, then we can talk.

Posted by: rphilli721 | October 12, 2009 9:33 AM

DaJuan Blair probably would have gotten little PT b/c of MeTawn and AB in the lineup.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 11, 2009 11:12 PM

Yet somehow DB gets PT playing behind Tim Duncan, Antonio McDyess and Matt Bonner. DB is one of 8 big men on the Spurs roster. He would have been one of 5 here.

DeJuan Blair may not become an All-Star, or be enshrined in Springfield. His career may not last more than 5 years. But he WILL go down as the steal of this draft and the Spurs will get his best years.

Posted by: mabkhar | October 12, 2009 9:40 AM

"The reason D. Blair would have been a good addition is b/c he does what no one else on this squad wants to do: bang down low, grab rebounds, and play with his back to the basket. Having him on your second unit would increase the number of second chance points and easy buckets. Instead, when the wiz look to their second unit, you'll see a bunch of jump shooters and at least one softy, big man who collapses at the thought of contact.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | October 12, 2009 9:28 AM "

Can you name a lot of guys who are 6-7 and 265lbs that man the paint and have a lot of success in the NBA?

Guys like him in the Danny Fortson build don't have much success in the NBA.

If it were me though, I'd still take a gamble on him instead of a cash payout like EG did, which amounted to nothing but just cash.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 12, 2009 9:44 AM

Just read the McGee article and this really stood out:
"but Haywood said he wouldn't go out of his way to help McGee. "I'm not really worried about showing him anything," Haywood said recently. "He's a professional. Once you get to this level, you go to worry about yourself. I think he's making strides. It's more on him than anybody else."

#1: I am glad McGee won't be learning how to play soft and short from Haywood.

#2: I am beginning to think Haywood is becoming Toxic...fighting with teamates; never had anything positive to say; refusing to help a younger player.

#3: maybe he is worried that his minutes and eventually his starter role are in jeopardy of being lost to young McGee. I would say if he isn't, he should be. I say trade him and James to NY for Lee and whatever 7" stiff they have.

Posted by: Blurred | October 12, 2009 10:12 AM

"Just read the McGee article and this really stood out:
"but Haywood said he wouldn't go out of his way to help McGee. "I'm not really worried about showing him anything," Haywood said recently. "He's a professional. Once you get to this level, you go to worry about yourself. I think he's making strides. It's more on him than anybody else."

#1: I am glad McGee won't be learning how to play soft and short from Haywood.

#2: I am beginning to think Haywood is becoming Toxic...fighting with teamates; never had anything positive to say; refusing to help a younger player.

#3: maybe he is worried that his minutes and eventually his starter role are in jeopardy of being lost to young McGee. I would say if he isn't, he should be. I say trade him and James to NY for Lee and whatever 7" stiff they have.

Posted by: Blurred | October 12, 2009 10:12 AM "

At least he said it.

What is MeTawn doing besides b!tch!n and moanin about the youngin's and who's not riding on the first bus?

BTH and JaTravel have different games anyway.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 12, 2009 10:49 AM

Can you name a lot of guys who are 6-7 and 265lbs that man the paint and have a lot of success in the NBA?

Guys like him in the Danny Fortson build don't have much success in the NBA.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | October 12, 2009 9:44 AM
------

Wes Unseld and Charles Barkley come to mind. No question Blair would have been a worthy 2nd round choice for the Wiz, but he was another young guy in need of time. I think the Wizards have a team built for right now, if they gel. If they don't, it's break-up city next year.

I also agree with Blurred about Haywood. He's no great teammate, definitely not leader material, and the jury's still out on his overall worth to the Wizards.

Posted by: zinger1 | October 12, 2009 10:59 AM

re. Davis "plays a similer below the rim game", Michael do you mean he doesn't jump for rebounds and can't block?

All I've seen are pictures from the Wiz training camp, and it seems Paul Davis can jump:
http://www.nba.com/wizards/photogallery/scrimmage_091004_18.html

Posted by: rickgonz | October 12, 2009 12:18 PM

Paul Davis is bigger than Songaila. If he REALLY plays like Songiala, that will be a boost to the team's front line!

Posted by: sagaliba | October 12, 2009 1:07 PM

Just read the McGee article and this really stood out:
"but Haywood said he wouldn't go out of his way to help McGee. "I'm not really worried about showing him anything," Haywood said recently. "He's a professional. Once you get to this level, you go to worry about yourself. I think he's making strides. It's more on him than anybody else."

#1: I am glad McGee won't be learning how to play soft and short from Haywood.

#2: I am beginning to think Haywood is becoming Toxic...fighting with teamates; never had anything positive to say; refusing to help a younger player.

#3: maybe he is worried that his minutes and eventually his starter role are in jeopardy of being lost to young McGee. I would say if he isn't, he should be. I say trade him and James to NY for Lee and whatever 7" stiff they have.

Posted by: Blurred | October 12, 2009 10:12 AM
-------------------

I wouldn't jump to conclusions. There wasn't a whole lot of context to the Haywood quote.

The part that stood out to me:

McGee's stint with Matrisciano was shorter than those of most clients, which might explain why Coach Flip Saunders still criticized McGee's conditioning and focus during training camp in Richmond; at one point he called McGee "overwhelmed."

if that's the case, I wouldn't blame haywood for not going out of his way. haywood has his own game to practice, he can't take on the responsibility of nurturing someone who is showing signs of a questionable work ethic.

McGee should be the one going out of his way to solicit help. If McGee went to Haywood for help, and haywood ignored him, then I would be concerned about haywood's attitude. until then, i'm more apt to say the jury's still out on that topic.

Posted by: crs-one | October 12, 2009 4:14 PM

I'm not a big Haywood fan, as everyone knows, but I had mixed feelings about what he said. Initially I reacted pretty much the same way Blurred did. But, on reflection, I have to admit he has a point. It is up to the individual player to take the initiative to do the work (something that Blatche has received several well-deserved knocks for in the past). And he does pay McGee a (somewhat back-handed) compliment in there.

Posted by: kalo_rama | October 12, 2009 5:30 PM

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