Without their star rookie, the Washington Wizards put on a dominating performance to crush the Toronto Raptors 109-94. Rookie point guard John Wall was on the bench with a sprained left foot Tuesday night, but a great team effort by the Wiz put away the Raptors with ease. Washington outscored Toronto by 15 points in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. Gilbert Arenas looked confident, composed, and dare I say a leader on the court Tuesday, posting an impressive stat line of 20 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. As I wrote after Washington’s last game against the Bulls, the Wizards must start Arenas from here on out. His elite offensive ability takes the pressure off of the Wizards’ other players, including Wall when he returns, and it opens up the paint for Blatche and McGee. Arenas is also the only real three-point threat on the roster, which again spreads out the defense and gives Wall the room to penetrate.
As a team, the Wizards dominated on the glass with a 47-to-36 rebounding advantage, and they were incredibly unselfish in dishing out 28 assists. Nick Young came off the bench to play an important 30 minutes, scoring 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Andray Blatche dominated a smaller Toronto frontcourt with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while JaVale McGee continues to be a force on the interior, grabbing 9 rebounds and blocking 4 shots while adding 8 points. Even Hilton Armstrong had a nice showing off the bench, contributing 10 points on an efficient 5-of-6 from the floor.
Even though the Raptors are a bad team, this is the kind of performance Flip Saunders can look at down the road and say, ‘Guys, if we rebound, are unselfish, and play disciplined defense, we can play with anyone in this league,” or something along those lines. Are the Wizards a title contender this season? Not a chance. But with Arenas, Wall, Thornton, Blatche and McGee as the starters and Hinrich, Booker, Yi, Young and Armstrong off the bench, it is a solid rotation that should at least get Washington to the playoffs.
About the Author
Written by Robert Bode
A sports die-hard through and through. I grew up playing almost every sport possible, and to this day I try to stay as active as possible. However, since I'm not a professional athlete, talking and writing about sports is the next best thing. A University of Florida graduate but living in my hometown of Washington D.C. (well Northern Virginia), my favorite teams are the Florida Gators, Miami Dolphins, Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals, Real Madrid, good up-tempo NBA teams (so not the Knicks), and Washington Capitals.