The Washington Wizards came back from a huge deficit to force an overtime period, but the Toronto Raptors were able to grab the victory, 120-116. This is the second straight night the Raptors have won in overtime.
Even with a migraine and an injured ankle, Wizards point guard John Wall put on a show. For the second time in his last three games, Wall has flirted with a triple-double. Wall finished the game with 28 points, 12 assists, and eight rebounds. He was very efficient tonight as he shot 8-of-16 from the field and 11-of-14 from the free-throw line while turning the ball over only two times.
Wall’s backcourt mate in this year’s All-Star game Kyle Lowry was up to the challenge as he led the Raptors in scoring with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Lowry didn’t stuff the stat sheet, as he only had three assists, but in overtime he was Toronto’s go-to guy as he scored seven of the Raptors' 11 overtime points.
Aside from Lowry, Toronto’s sixth man Louis Williams crushed the hearts of the Wizards and their fans. He scored 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including a handful of acrobatic shots that went down for him when the shot clock was expiring. DeMar DeRozan was on triple-double alert as he scored 15 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and recorded seven assists.
Two of the Raptors' big men really presented problems for the Wizards. Amir Johnson was very active and efficient as he scored 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while grabbing six rebounds and blocking three shots. Patrick Patterson continues to be a Wizards killer off the bench as he scored 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc.
Wizards guard Bradley Beal was sensational tonight as he dropped 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting. He was impressive from behind the arc as he went 5-of-10 from three-point land. Another clutch shooter for the Wizards tonight was “The Truth” Paul Pierce. He scored 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting and when the game was on the line he drilled a couple three-pointers, including the one that tied the game at the end of regulation.
It was a tough night for Marcin Gortat who had his action figure night at the Verizon Center. He played on 24 minutes and during that time, he scored only two points while grabbing only two rebounds. He had more turnovers (four) than points and rebounds combined. Luckily, Kris Humphries picked up the slack as he recorded his second straight double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Nene played alongside him in the fourth quarter when Washington made their comeback. The big Brazilian scored 16 points but unfortunately turned the ball over five times, the most by any Wizards player tonight.
Two glaring statistics that helped the Raptors win this game was the difference in turnovers and bench points. Washington turned the ball over 22 times leading to 31 Toronto points instead of only 13 by the Raptors that led to 17 Wizards points. The Raptors bench was huge as they scored 47 points as opposed to only 25 Washington bench points. The Wizards bench has really cooled down in production forcing head coach Randy Wittman to try some new rotations to find a spark.
The Raptors came out of the gate hot as they made 10 of their first 12 three-point attempts, seven of those made three-pointers came in the first quarter. The long range barrage continued in the second quarter as the Raptors went on a 14-0 run to start the quarter. Washington trailed by as many as 21 points in the third quarter and were down by 18 points early in the fourth until John Wall and the Wizards went on a run.
Washington went on a 17-2 run in four minutes in the fourth quarter cutting the Toronto lead to just three points. The Wizards defense clamped down on the Raptors offense, especially from behind the arc where Washington held Toronto to 1-of-14 after getting off to a hot start. The two teams traded baskets as the Raptors retained the lead, but John Wall remained aggressive, scoring the basketball and finding his teammates, including a kick out pass to Paul Pierce that led to the game-tying three with 25 seconds left in regulation.
The Wizards couldn’t make enough plays in overtime to get this victory in front of a sellout crowd at the Verizon Center. In recent games Washington has had trouble out of the gate and continues to get behind double-digits going into the second half. They use so much energy to make a game of it that they don’t have enough to close it out. This is something the Wizards need to work on as the season progresses, especially against top-tier teams.
Toronto is now in sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference as they have won six straight games and are two games ahead of Washington in the standings. Washington has fallen to third place in the standings and are now nine games behind the red-hot Atlanta Hawks who have won 19 straight games.
The Raptors head home to face the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night at 7:30 PM EST. The Wizards will stay home to face the Charlotte Hornets Monday night at 7:00 PM EST, the first of four meetings this year.