THREE POINTS: TURNOVERS, BENCH FAIL, SCOTT'S SHOT
BY TODD DYBAS | MARCH 3, 2018
RAPTORS 102, WIZARDS 95
THREE POINTS FROM CAPITAL ONE ARENA:
1. Turnovers and turnovers and turnovers. The Wizards have moved into troubling territory here. For two months, they have been progressively sloppier with the ball. We wrote about this the other night, and will write about it again here. They had 11 turnovers to start the week in Milwaukee. That’s a great number. That total grew to 16 against Golden State on Wednesday. Not terrible, not great. Friday delivered 18 turnovers. The Raptors scored 27 points off them, basically a productive quarter’s worth of work for free (and a 27-5 advantage in the spot).
Five of the turnovers were committed by Tomas Satoransky in the first half. His previous high in a game this season was three. Satoransky finished with six. He slapped his hands together and yelled after one turnover in the first half. He had tried to deliver a wraparound pass to Marcin Gortat in the paint. But, a Toronto defender was able to interject his hand late to break up the pass.
“Well, fifth turnover, so damn right I was pissed,” Satoransky told The Sports Capitol. “I think, sometimes it’s tough. Obviously when you have a lot of turnovers in a row, you’re the point guard, everyone expecting from you to lead in that way. So, I was pissed. I thought Marc was open. They did a good job in switching it quickly. They’re a pretty physical team.”
Satoransky entered the game averaging 0.9 turnovers per game. So, the night was out of character for him. The team-wide turnover problem is not. The Wizards now have a 25-game sample of slippage — with and without John Wall. They need to find a solution.
2. Bench pressed. The Raptors’ bench unit has been labeled the best in the league by Scott Brooks and others. It has a young big man, a scrappy point guard, a shooter and a freaky long forward. It also demolished the Wizards bench group, still reeling from the missteps of the summer of 2016, Friday night.
Plus/minus is a demonstrative stat at times, a worthless one others. It was representative Friday. No Raptors starter had a positive plus/minus. No Wizards bench player had a positive plus/minus. Kelly Oubre (2-for-8, 1-for-6 from behind the 3-point line) was a whopping -19. Raptors backup point guard Fred VanVleet was plus-20, one of four Raptors bench players who had double-digit positives. Included among them was CJ Miles. There is one job against him: get him off the 3-point line. The Wizards failed to do that. Miles scored 20 points. He was 6-for-9 from behind the 3-point line.
“Seems like every night, somebody steps up,” Brooks said. “The big fella [Jakob Poeltl], [Fred] VanVleet, [Pascal] Siakam, Miles tonight, you know, 20 points. We couldn’t make a three off of our bench. We made one – Kelly [Oubre Jr.]. Kelly was 1-for-6. He made [one] and they made eight as a bench so I think that’s the difference…Take that and our turnovers…I thought we played everybody pretty tough. DeMar [DeRozan] is an All-Star. [Kyle] Lowry’s an All-Star – really good players. I thought we played them pretty good just like they played Brad [Beal] pretty good. The wild card was CJ, we talked about how he can come in and make with have a big number with his impact on his shooting. He got free too many times tonight.”
3. Mike Scott’s slippage continues. Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld hit here. Mike Scott was on the edge of being out of the league permanently last summer. Instead, he turned into an enormous find for Grunfeld. The signing goes on the positive side of Grunfeld’s ledger. This is not exoneration for missteps. Just to be clear before looking at Scott’s recent work.
In February, he shot 43.2 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from behind the 3-point line. He is shooting 37.1 percent from the field and is 0-for-6 from behind the 3-point line in six games since the All-Star break. This is typical regression to the mean. It also shouldn’t color Scott’s offensive season in which he has an eFG of 60.2. The point is that his production is on the road back to regularity, which has hurt the Wizards’ bench unit, particularly with Satoransky moved up to play with the starters (which also might be part of the issue lately for Scott).
There is also concern about his defense. His defensive rating is up to 110. That’s not a good look for someone opposing backup power forwards. Scott was part of the reason Miles started cooking early Friday. After that, the Wizards couldn’t turn him off.