- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

TORONTO — It can’t be worse, right?

The collaborative shot missing from Game 1 between the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors spared no attempt. The teams could not hit from 2-point range (46 percent for the Raptors, 42.3 for the Wizards), 3-point range (20.7 and 28.6) or even the free-throw line (71.4 and 60). It was a brutal display of offense.

Asked Tuesday morning at shootaround if he expected a repeat, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said he can’t predict the future. For humanity’s sake, let’s hope there is not one.

Bradley Beal was 6-for-23 from the field, a massive change from his 9-for-17 against the Raptors during his only regular-season game against them. He worked rhythm drills the next day in practice in order to be better.

“Have to,” Beal said. “Can’t shoot 6-for-23. Trying to get a rhythm. Just trying to make sure everything is feeling good still. It’s more of a confidence builder. It’s more of a mental preparation. It’s hardly anything wrong with mechanics. It’s all mental, so I just needed to see a few go in.”

The poor shooting for Toronto was widespread and counter to what happened in the regular season during three games — all Toronto wins — between the teams. All-star point guard Kyle Lowry shot 20 percent in Game 1 after shooting 45 percent this season against the Wizards. DeMar DeRozan shot 30 percent after 38.3 in the three prior games. Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams dipped all the way to 25 percent in Game 1. The other three games, the Wizards could not contain Williams, and he shot 48.8 percent. Terrence Ross started Game 1, missed his six 3-point attempts and finished 3-for-11, 27.3 percent. He was at 43.5 percent against Washington in the regular season.

“We really can’t be too upset at the way we lost Game 1 because all of us had tough nights, especially on the offensive end,” DeRozan said. “…We still got high confidence.”

He, like Wall and Beal, looked to do other things. Beal was so irritated with his lack of accuracy Nene had to tell the 21-year-old shooter to look at the score, be pleased, and not worry about his shots going in to the point it affected his play.

“This is the playoffs, it’s going to be hard to make shots,” Nene said Tuesday morning.

Nene’s shooting night in Game 1 was also a curiosity. He came into the series averaging just nine shots per game during the regular season. By the end of the first quarter, he had put up nine shots, including the first of the game, on his way to taking 13 on the afternoon. It was the first time in almost a month he had taken more than 10 shots. The last time was March 20 against the Clippers. Asked about the attempts, he smiled and opted for the mundane as opposed to an elaboration.

“This is basketball,” Nene said. “You shoot when you are open.”

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