The Toronto Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards in each of the first two games of their first-round series. Let’s take a look at how their stars have fared against each of their primary defenders. Since only DeMar DeRozan, John Wall, and Bradley Beal have taken enough shots for these numbers to be meaningful, we’ll look at the shooting numbers for those three.
Note: These numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. While NBA.com’s stats database is excellent, their definition of “primary defender” is still imperfect. Additionally, each defender’s sample size is still smaller than ideal.
Shooting Numbers of Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards Stars in Games 1 and 2, By Primary Defender
Here are DeRozan’s top primary defenders, showing field goal percentage and possessions defending DeRozan.
Otto Porter appears to be doing the best job on DeRozan, which isn’t surprising, considering Porter’s history of stout defense against him. Kelly Oubre and Beal have struggled in every facet of the game, not just defensively, so they’ll need to be a lot better for the Wizards to turn this series around. Oubre was part of many of Washington’s best and worst regular-season lineups. He could be a key factor coming off the bench in the next couple of games.
Here are Wall’s numbers.
The Raptors started out both games with Kyle Lowry on Wall, eventually bringing in Delon Wright off the bench and moving Lowry onto Beal. When Lowry sits, Wright has been Wall’s main defender (especially with Fred VanVleet sidelined). But later in each game, the Raptors shifted rookie small forward OG Anunoby onto Wall. Anunoby slowed down Wall in the second halves, and he allowed Lowry to shift onto Beal, on whom Lowry was Toronto’s best defender in the regular season. Anunoby is listed at 6’8″ and has a 7’6″ wingspan, so his length surely bothered Wall. That included an emphatic block on Wall in the third quarter of Game 2.
Finally, here are Beal’s shooting numbers against each primary defender.
While Beal has been good in a limited sample against Wright, he has mostly struggled against Anunoby, Lowry, and the entire Raptors. He had a quiet and non-impactful 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting in Game 1, followed by a horrific performance in just 25 minutes in Game 2. His nine points on 3-of-11 field goals didn’t quite show how much he struggled. Beal, who averaged 28.8 points in four regular-season games against Toronto, needs to be better for Washington to have any chance of getting back into this series.
TORONTO – APRIL 18 – Raptors DeMar DeRozan is defended by Washington’s Bradley Beal. Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizzards during 2nd half action at the Air Canada Centre of the 1st round of NBA playoffs on April 18, 2015. Raptors lose 93-86. (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)