The Raptors want the ball, but don't know what to do with it.
The Raptors set records for offensive futility again Friday
night, scoring just four points in the second quarter and a
franchise-low 23 in the first half of an 86-60 loss to the Wizards.
"We had a game plan, but I didn't think it was going to be that
effective," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "I think it could
have been a combination of them having an emotional win last night,
traveling here. That truly wasn't the real Toronto Raptors out
Larry Hughes scored 16 points to pace the Wizards, who led 51-23 at halftime and took over by pushing the tempo and controlling the
boards in the second quarter. Washington outscored Toronto 29-4 in
the period -- tying a franchise low for the Raptors.
The Wizards, with one of the youngest lineups in the league,
already have a 25-point win over Chicago and back-to-back
comfortable victories over Dallas and Toronto.
"We're ready for the Lakers," Jordan quipped. "What's
working? Just a will to win, a will to play hard, a will to not be
underdogs and accepting it. Young guys who are willing to make a
name for the Wizards, not necessarily for themselves."
The half of ineptitude came exactly one week after the Wizards
held the Raptors to a franchise-low 27 first-half points in an
82-79 Raptors win at Toronto. The next day, the Raptors scored 24
in the second half against Minnesota and finished with a
franchise-low total in a 73-56 loss.
"No effort. We simply gave no effort," said Vince Carter, who scored 18 points on 8-for-21 shooting. "No effort, no nothing. We
were beat from the beginning of the game. We've had slow starts
every game we've played, it seems like. It's mental. I don't know why."
The Raptors, averaging an NBA-low 76.3 points coming in, shot 37
percent from the field, committed 22 turnovers and were
outrebounded 48-38. They lost any momentum they had from a 77-71
victory at home against Dallas on Thursday.
"We let ourselves completely get out of sync offensively when
they hit us with a little bit of a trap," Toronto coach Kevin
O'Neill said. "We just gave in mentally and didn't play the way
you're supposed to play. When you do that, things go downhill from
The game also goes into Washington's record books. The four
points are the fewest the Wizards have ever allowed in a quarter;
the 23 points are the fewest they've yielded in a half; 60 are the
fewest for a game.
The Raptors went 2-for-16 from the field in the second quarter
after missing their first nine shots. Carter made both field goals,
but was just 2-for-7 from the field in the period.
Leading 22-19 after the first quarter, the Wizards took control
with an 18-0 run using a fullcourt press and a more aggressive
approach to the basket. Highlights included Etan Thomas' over-the-back block of Antonio Davis, who appeared headed for a fast-break dunk, and Hughes' 30-foot 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired.
"We made them play our game," Washington point guard Gilbert
Arenas said. "We were running at them all day. Don't let them get
into a rhythm. That was the difference in the game."
Game Notes: The NBA record for fewest points in a half in the shot-clock era is 19 by the Los Angeles Clippers against the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999. The Clippers scored three points in the second quarter in that game, a league record for fewest points in a second quarter. ... After playing well against Dallas on Wednesday, Christian Laettner started again at center for the Wizards and had nine points and 11 rebounds. ... Kwame Brown's first career
3-pointer -- a bank shot at the halftime buzzer against Dallas on Wednesday -- created such a buzz that Jordan asked him to recreate the shot at practice Thursday. "He had to end practice with a bank-shot 3," Jordan said. "We couldn't end practice for 20
minutes. He kept trying and trying." ... O'Neill had hoped to add Tyrone Hill to the roster, but the veteran forward signed with
Miami on Friday. "That's unfortunate," O'Neill said. "I would have loved to have had him."