The Wizards dropped a tightly contested Game 1 in Toronto on Saturday, falling 114-106, in a game that featured 15 lead changes.
Bradley Beal and John Wall led their squad to a halftime lead, but couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch to come out on top. The Wizards led with eight minutes to play, but the Raptors closed the game on a 19-10 run.
“The bottom line is they played well,” head coach Scott Brooks said before practice on Sunday. “We played hard, but we made a couple of critical mistakes. Some of our turnovers led to easy transition buckets. And then we lost some of their shooters in transition.”
The Panda scored 19 points, while Wall added 23 and 15 assists, and Markieff Morris recorded a double-double with 22 points and 11 boards.
Despite breaking the 100-point mark, the Wizards did not shoot the ball particularly well from three-point range (8-21). With snipers like Brad, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Otto Porter Jr., they should shoot the ball more efficiently the rest of the series, which bodes well for the Wizards moving forward.
“We feel like we didn’t even play our best basketball, we didn’t shoot the ball well from three,” Wall said. “They shot over 50%, and we still gave ourselves a chance to win.”
Another encouraging sign is that the Wizards held the Raptors backcourt in check for most of the game. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for only 26 points, well below their season average.
This figures to be a long series and one game won’t define it, however, the Wizards need to regroup and come ready to play in Game 2.
“What we wanted to do was to come steal Game 1,” Wall said. “They had all of the right and all of the momentum to try to get Game 1. They had home court advantage – they definitely used that to the best of their ability in that game. Now all we have to do is to focus on trying to win Game 2.”
“We take it a game at time,” BB said after the game. “We had opportunities — several opportunities — to win tonight and close it out, but we didn’t. You know, you brush it off and move forward. We got another one on Tuesday.”
D.C. still has a great opportunity in front of them. If they steal Game 2 in Toronto on Tuesday before heading back to Capital One Arena for games 3 and 4, they will be in great position in the series. Tuesday’s game tips at 7pm ET on NBA TV.