Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wiz handle Raptors without Wall, Yi

Now with a 2-9 record after last night's 109-94 loss to the short-handed Wizards, it's fair to say that the Raptors are one of the worst teams in the NBA. Still, the Wizards improved to 3-6 with the win, and they did so without John Wall, and to a lesser extent, Yi Jianlian.

The Raptors, far from a good defensive team, allowed the Wizards to shoot over 56 percent from the field and dish out 28 assists. The Wizards ended the first half with a seven-point lead and then outscored the Raptors by 15 points in the third quarter (36-21) to put the game away for good.

With Wall out, Gilbert Arenas and Kirk Hinrich started together in the backcourt, and both had solid games. Arenas scored 20 points on 7-14 shooting, including 3-6 from three-point range, and he also had seven rebounds and six assists. Hinrich was also efficient, scoring 13 points on eight shots, while also dishing out a game-high 12 assists. Andray Blatche led the Wizards with 22 points (9-13 from the field) and also had seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Rounding out the starting five, Al Thornton added six points and seven rebounds, and JaVale McGee had eight points, nine rebounds, and four blocks.

Nick Young (30 minutes) and Trevor Booker (20 minutes) both played a sizable chunk of minutes off the bench. Young poured in 20 points on 8-15 shooting and also managed to do something else other than scoring points, grabbing six rebounds. The 20 minutes for Booker were the most he's played so far in his young career, and his eight points were also a career high. Also, Hilton Armstrong scored 10 points in a productive 16 minutes off the bench.

As a team, the Wizards held the Raptors to 40.7 percent from the field and outrebounded them 47-36. The Wizards also had nine more assists than Toronto (28-19), but they did turn the ball over three more times (16-13).

After beating the Raptors in Washington, the Wizards face the Celtics in Boston today. Unfortunately, they may still be without Wall, whose status is "still uncertain." The Celtics won't roll over like the Raptors did, and Wall's presence will likely be missed much more in tonight's game.

Brief note: I realize that Young was likely to play more minutes in this game because of Wall's injury, but it's still funny to see how his minutes change from game to game. His 30 minutes last night were a season high, but he hadn't even played 20 minutes in a game since November 2 against the 76ers. I realize that Young basically is who he is at this point -- a guy who doesn't bring a whole lot to the table other than his ability to heat up and score points in bunches -- but I guess he's sort of settling into his role as the fourth guard, which essentially means that he'll see some playing time if Wall, Arenas, or Hinrich misses a game. If not, then I guess he gets to spend most of the game with Sam Cassell on the bench.

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