“I’ll burn it and look forward to the next one,” Wall said after matching the worst shooting night of his career, as he missed 11 of 12 shots and scored just nine points with six assists and seven turnovers. “You don’t hold your heads.”
The Wizards (15-37) got another reminder of how fleeting success can be in the NBA, with the team following up a four-game winning streak against teams in playoff contention with losses to Detroit and Toronto, two teams that would join Washington in the NBA lottery if the season ended today.
“They wanted it more than us. They outplayed us. They had two scorers, Rudy and DeMar, they came out and did their thing,” reserve forward Trevor Booker said of the Raptors. “Hopefully we can regroup. We got to take the success and we can’t let our heads get big. Some teams do that, and they fall on their face.”
Booker said the broken clocks in the arena didn’t affect the players much and that it felt “like AAU.” Timeouts and substitutions were summoned by the sound of an air horn. Players had to check at midcourt for the score or keep it their heads . The public address announcer shouted out whenever the shot clock hit 10 seconds or five seconds. And the Raptors were especially helpful as players on the bench counted down the time on the clock to allow DeRozan the chance to hit buzzer-beating shots at the end of the first two quarters.
“It brought back memories for me,” Coach Randy Wittman said with a laugh. “The shot clock on the floor. I thought I had my shorts on.”
The game may have a had a throwback feel, but the Wizards managed to turn back the clock to those dark days before Wall made his debut or Bradley Beal had begun to develop some confidence; back when scoring was laborious and focus was lacking. Wittman didn’t have an answer for Wall’s struggles, but said that at times, when the situation gets rough, his players “bleed into ‘Woe is me,’ instead of staying with it.”
Wall dropped his shoulders after missing several easy layups and his last turnover was a cross-court, baseline pass that landed in the hands of Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas. Wall never regained his form after picking up two fouls in the first quarter. “It took me out of my rhythm because I had to sit so long and tried to find my rhythm. Just careless turnovers and missed a couple of easy shots,” he said.
Beal was the Wizards’ most reliable offensive option as he returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench the previous game and scored a game-high 25 points, connecting on 3 of 6 from three-point range. Martell Webster added 16 points, Emeka Okafor had 12 and Booker, getting his first playing time in six games, added 10 points. Nene also had a forgettable shooting night from the field, as he shot just 3 of 11 and finished with seven points.