It was the hometown hero who saved the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night in Washington, D.C.
Cory Joseph drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer off of a brilliantly drawn up play by coach Dwane Casey. DeMar DeRozan drove towards the baseline and drew in two Washington Wizards defenders and found Joseph wide open in the corner.
"I knew if I got to him clean, he was going to knock it in," said DeMar DeRozan. "That's just Cory. You can trust him with that."
Kyle Lowry was on fire once again, dropping 27 points and shooting 6-for-11 from beyond the arc. DeMar DeRozan also contributed 20 points.
For the Wizards, Bradley Beal led the way with 20 points. Washington has struggled recently, playing four games in just five days. The offensive struggles continue for this team, as they have shot less than 36% from the field in three consecutive games.
There are bigger issues for the Wiz however, as there appears to be possibly some locker room tension.
"We've got to cut the negativity we have coming from players, coaches, staff, media," said starting center Marcin Gortat. "It's not even fun coming here anymore."
John Wall had a more positive outlook on the performance. He praised the team's effort, but understood that the team had to perform better in crunch-time.
"We felt like we let this one slip away," Wall said. "But you can kind of deal with this, the way we competed. And that's the most important thing."
The frustration continues to build for the team in the nation's capital, as the Wizards will certainly feel as if they gave Toronto this win. They led for the majority of the game but could not hit a single field goal in the final four minutes.
John Wall had an opportunity to extend the Wizards lead to three points with under four seconds to go, but missed both of his free throws after the Raptors fouled him. This gave Toronto a chance to win the game. Dwane Casey put the game in DeRozan's hands, who unselfishly passed the ball to a wide open Cory Joseph.
"The play was for DeMar to catch it and get something quick," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "He had the presence of mind in a very short period of time to make a play and Cory works on that shot tremendously."
This win has to feel great for the city of Toronto and the Raptors players, and will hopefully relieve some of the pain of being swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Wizards.
Raptors Center Bismack Biyombo had a season-high 16 rebounds in the absence of usual starter Jonas Valanciunas.
Jared Dudley earned his first start of the season for Washington.
The Raptors are now on a 4-game winning streak.
Washington had just 10 healthy players. C Nene and F Drew Gooden were both out with a strained calf. G Gary Neal was out due to a groin injury.
Kyle Lowry played excellent defense on John Wall holding him to just 6-for-25 shooting.
The Raptors return home to take on the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.