As if Sunday early afternoon games aren’t enough of a struggle to get through, yesterday the Washington Wizards had the temerity to not roll over when the Toronto Raptors jumped out to a big early lead. No, they had to fight and claw their way back in it and force not one but two interminable overtime periods before finally succumbing to the superior team.
It should have been thrilling. It was exhausting. A few garbled thoughts, hopefully five of them:
Why Don’t Teams Sub in OT?
So, both the Raptors and Wizards trotted out the same five guys in OT that played the bulk of the fourth... and then trotted those guys again in the second OT. We only had two substitutions in the OT periods, when a player from each team (Pascal Siakam and Trevor Ariza, respectively) fouled out.
It was incredibly evident by the end of the first extra period that both teams were gassed. And yet both coaches stuck with the NBA tradition of going with the guys that got you there.
I guess it’s hard to disagree. Typically these are your five best players. The best guys should be able to handle five more minutes, and you don’t foresee one overtime turning into two.
But when you do go into double overtime... I don’t know man, I think if I’m Nick Nurse I get Delon Wright or OG Anunoby out there for the first 90 seconds at least to give Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard a breather. The bench has been inconsistent, to be certain, but those guys looked almost as exhausted as I felt.
Should players get extra fouls in OT?
I don’t know how they math would work here, but should the NBA consider extending the disqualification limit when games go into OT? Only Siakam and Ariza fouled out of this one, but it could have been worse. They played a full extra 20% of an NBA game! Shouldn’t they get 20% more fouls to give before disqualification?
Maybe at the beginning of the first OT, and every second OT thereafter (so, third, fifth(!) etc.) each player gets one extra foul?
I don’t know, maybe that’s insane. That game made me a little punchy.
Boxing Out, Anyone Heard of it?
Both of these teams either did a great job of crashing the offensive glass yesterday — or did a poor job of boxing out. On multiple occasions down the stretch, both teams grabbed (or gave up) offensive rebounds that were potential difference makers.
Bradley Beal’s game-tying three in regulation came off an offensive board; Siakam had an OReb on the previous play but the Raptors couldn’t convert. Ariza had one in the first OT but the Wizards couldn’t convert; Siakam and Leonard each had one on the same possession in the second OT but couldn’t convert.
I sound like a broken record. Finally it was Leonard hauling in his own miss with 18 seconds to go that led to Serge Ibaka’s game-winning three-pointer.
If either of these teams had boxed out effectively — or had been able to score after grabbing a big rebound — we might have been spared the two OTs. Alas.
Who Tweaked the Wizards’ Shooting Rating in the Fourth?
If you looked at the Wizards’ overall field goal percentage in the this game, you’d think the Raptors played some decent D, as they held the Wizards to 45% overall. That’s right on Toronto’s season average.
But then you look at the 3-point shooting; the Wizards were 19-of-44 from downtown, which is not good at all from Toronto.
But an even closer look will tell you that most of that damage came in one particular stretch bridging the third and fourth quarters, where the Wizards hit 14 straight shots including four three-pointers. 14 straight! Yeah, that’ll get you back into a game real quick.
Thankfully the Raptors D locked back in and held the Wizards to 10-for-32 shooting the rest of the way.
Are the Wizards Still the Best Team to Hate?
The Wizards have been easy to rag on for ages, what with their inflated sense of their own (minuscule) accomplishments, their hilariously bloated salary cap, Paul Pierce being an ass, signing Dwight Howard, etc.
But — and credit to @AnneJaneSmith4 for a Twitter convo that made me rethink this — are they the same old Wizards? Was yesterday’s Wizards team a little more likeable, what with Howard, John Wall and Markieff Morris sidelined, and Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers long gone?
They share the ball more. They’ve got scrappy guys like Tomas Satoransky, Thomas Bryant and Troy Brown Jr. playing larger roles. The team runs through Beal, who is straight balling right now, who has surpassed Wall as a player and should be the team’s alpha dog. It’s hard to hate on Jeff Green — his journeyman status is funny, but the guy went through freakin’ heart surgery to get back playing. Gotta respect that.
And yet... I dunno. Maybe it’s the vestiges of those two playoff matchups and all the “we think we were the better team” chatter after losses that are still sticking in my mind. Maybe it’s Beal patting his own ass after hitting a big shot that rubs me the wrong way.
So yeah. Maybe they’re not the most hateable anymore, but I still hate the Wizards.
Unfortunately there’s still one more game to go against Washington! Thankfully it’s not for another month... but it’s the last game before the All-Star Break, quite possibly a schedule loss. Ugh.
This is why I still can’t stand them: there’s still nothing worse than losing to the Wizards.