Booker's energetic return not enough to overcome Raptors

Booker's energetic return not enough to overcome Raptors
October 17, 2012, 11:00 pm
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The good news: The Wizards' final three preseason games will be televised on Comcast SportsNet!!!

The bad news: Wednesday night's game in Toronto, a 104-101 loss to the Raptors, was not one of the final three preseason games. (Neither is Saturday's tilt in Milwaukee, but we'll deal with that later). That meant no local television. However...

The good news: Between some shady internet connection and an on-hand source at the Air Canada Centre, I've got enough of detail to put together what happened beyond the box score, though we'll dive into that as well. Like now...

The numbers: Holy balanced scoring!!! Seeing his first preseason action, Trevor Booker finished with 12 points, pacing not one, not two but seven double digits scorers. Wow, fairly random, right? The 11-point club included, Martell Webster, Emeka Okafor, Jan Vesely and Bradley Beal, who tallied two late free throws to ensure he scored in double digits in all five games. More on him and Booker in a second...

Overall, the Wizards (1-4) shot 43 percent (37-of-86) from the field. That level of marksmanship is rather robust compared to the 39.5 percent the team shot over the first four games. Entering their fifth game, Washington ranked 28th among NBA teams in this category. Of course, it's preseason. For proof of that, look at the teams below the Wizards; Bulls and Lakers.

On the flip side, the Raptors (3-1) knocked down 50 percent of their attempts. Ex-Knick Landry Fields led Toronto with 15 points.

Other numbers worth mentioning include a 15-9 edge on the offensive glass, led by Earl Barron's six...The Wizards had a healthy 24 assists compared to 15 turnovers.

Booker: Everyone in Wizard-land is surely hoping the sore hamstring issue that fell Booker during the opening four games does not reoccur after seeing action - and reminding everyone who valuable his energetic game is for this squad. Booker entered the game during the first quarter and it as the Wizards leading scorer with eight points and two steals. He also finished 6-of-8 from the field and simply made things happen. Whenever the Wizards have all their frontcourt hands on deck, whatever rotation battles exits won't involve Booker. Either as a starter or hard-charging reserve, the third-year forward is in the mix.

Starting backcourt: Wizards coach Randy Wittman returned Crawford and Price to the starting lineup after using Beal and Jannero Pargo the previous two games. The pair dished out 15 assists, eight from Price who displayed the leadership qualities Wittman is looking from his point guards with John Wall sidelined. Price also knocked down both of his 3-point attempts while Crawford shot a Crawford-like 4-of-14 from the field. Hey, who else is going to shoot? Let's also note Crawford had six assists in the first quarter as the Wizards took an early 10-point lead. Nobody said he can't pass.

Beal under pressure: As the buzz about the poised and talented rookie grows, so does the defensive attention focus his way. That was the case in Toronto as the Raptors frustrated Beal for three quarters before the Florida product turned agitation into aggression, scoring seven points in the fourth. Defensively Beal also had rougher than usual night though he apparently wasn't the only one; Toronto's top four guards including Fields, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for 52 points.

And the bonus: Chris Singleton (bruised right shoulder) played a scoreless seven minutes after sitting out the previous two games...Shelvin Mack received the short end of the point guard stick, playing only five minutes. Pargo tallied 10 points in 21 minutes sank two from beyond the arc, but he also failed to register an assist...Barron played 24 minutes in part because Kevin Seraphin (calf) sat out his second straight full game and Shavlik Randolph played less than two minutes after suffering a busted lip.