Wizards vs. Raptors final score: Washington has no answer for Pascal Siakam in 129-120 loss

Six Wizards players scored in double-figures, led by All-Star Bradley Beal with 28 points, but it wouldn’t be enough to overcome Pascal Siakam’s 44-point outburst as the Wizards fell to the Raptors 128-119 on Wednesday night.

This was Washington’s final tune-up before the All-Star break and early on, they looked like a team wishing they could just fast-forward through this game. The Wizards missed their first six shots of the game and didn’t get on the scoreboard until the 8:31 mark of the first quarter.

After their ice-cold start, things evened out as they connected on seven of their next 11 field goals to establish themselves. They trailed by just four, 30-26, after one quarter.

The Wizards hung around in this one thanks to Jeff Green’s start to the second quarter. He got into a rhythm midway through the period and went on a personal 7-0 run as the Wizards took their first lead of the game, 46-44. Washington ramped up their defense to close the quarter and outscored the Raptors 13-5 to close the half, punctuated by a Trevor Ariza three at the buzzer.

Washington stretched the lead to 12, 80-68 early in the third quarter, but that’s when everything fell apart for the Wizards. Toronto shot a smoking hot 76 percent from the field in the quarter to take back the lead and create some distance. They ended the quarter on an extended 35-13 run to take a 103-93 lead into the fourth quarter and all but kill Washington’s hopes.

But give the Wizards credit as they had one more punch in them. With the Wizards down two, 110-108, Washington had multiple opportunities to take the lead. Unfortunately, they went through another cold stretch at the wrong time and turned the ball over at inopportune times. Later, the Wizards clawed within one, but a Danny Green 3-pointer in transition gave the Raptors some breathing room, and Siakam took it home from there.

Washington will enter the All-Star break 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 24-34 record.

Takeaways

The third quarter dooms Washington

Trevor ArizaJeff Green, and Thomas Bryant knocked down 3-pointers to open the second half, but the wheels fell off after that initial spurt. Washington missed eight straight field goal attempts while the Raptors went on a 15-0 run to regain the lead. Toronto shot a blistering 16-of-21 from the field (76 percent) and outscored Washington 44-28 in the quarter that proved to be the difference.

Bradley Beal turns in a first half gem

What more is there to say? Beal has been outstanding this season and his entire repertoire was on display in the first half. He was calm and collected when the Wizards got off to a cold start, doing damage in the mid-range to score 9 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting in the first quarter.

With Chasson Randle in foul trouble and Tomas Satoransky missing his second straight game for personal reasons, Beal had to shift to be a facilitator in the second quarter. He dished out six assists in the first half including this nice pass to Jabari Parker.

He also found Thomas Bryant for a dunk in transition to help Washington take control in the second quarter.

The second half wasn’t as kind to Beal but he still ended the night with 28 points to go along with 11 assists.

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Wizards vs. Raptors final score: Bradley Beal’s 43-point triple-double not enough in 140-138 double-overtime loss to Toronto

The Toronto Raptors overcame Bradley Beal’s stellar play on Sunday afternoon to take down the Wizards, 140-138 in a double-overtime thriller. Beal logged his second triple-double of his career with 43 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds and Trevor Ariza nearly had a triple-double of his own with 23 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds but the Wizards just had no answer for Kawhi Leonard (41 points and 11 rebounds) or Pascal Siakam (24 points and 19 rebounds).

The Raptors are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and the Wizards found that out quickly as they missed their first five shots and trailed by double-digits before the National Anthem was finished. Toronto held the Wizards to just 34 percent shooting in the first quarter and led 36-21 after one as it looked like this one was heading towards a blowout.

That Toronto lead ballooned to 23, 51-28 early in the second quarter and you could feel the bleak and somber mood of the stadium ooze through the television screen. The Wizards did find their footing late in the half on the heels of a 12-2 run and somehow were in striking distance but trailed 61-50 at halftime.

The Wizards took their best jab at the Raptors but Toronto always answered and was able to keep the lead at double-digits throughout the third quarter.

And that’s when the fun began.

After playing some pretty poor defense for most of the game, Washington clamped down defensively and started getting some stops early in the fourth quarter. The Wizards turned those stops into transition baskets which trimmed the deficit to single digits.

After a slow start, Bradley Beal got hot enough to melt most of the snow around Capital One Arena in the fourth quarter. He hit back to back three-pointers to trim the deficit to four, 116-112 late in the period.

His biggest basket of the night came in the final moments as Porter missed a three-pointer but Satoransky was there to kick the ball out to Beal for three and tie the game at 124.

The Wizards had a shot to win this one in regulation but Jeff Green’s attempt on the final possession clanked off the back of the rim.

The teams went back and forth in the overtime periods as both teams clamped down and made every shot difficult. With the Wizards trailing by two and just seconds to play in the first overtime period, Beal curled off a screen and hit a floater through contact in the lane to tie the game at 131 and force a second overtime.

Tomas Satoransky broke the scoring seal at the 3:20 mark with a floater in the lane to give Washington their first lead of the day, 133-131. After two free-throws from Lowry, Beal and Bryant ran the two-man game to perfection resulting in a short jumper for Bryant to put Washington back out in front.

But every time the Wizards punched, Toronto punched back. Leonard drove to the lane and got stripped only to recover the loose ball and find Serge Ibaka for a three-pointer to put the Raptors back up 139-138. Washington had one final chance to win this one. Bradley Beal took the inbounds pass and drove baseline finding Jeff Green who looked like he was open for a split second. Green pump-faked and found Porter on the wing for a good look at a three but it too, clanked off the back iron.

That would be it as Toronto gathered the loose ball and iced the game at the free throw line to snap Washington’s win streak and negate one of Bradley Beal’s best performances of the season.

Bradley Beal’s All-Star campaign keeps humming along

Bradley Beal struggled mightily to start this one. Beal scored just 10 points in the first half and was just 4-of-17 from the field into the third quarter. But everything flipped for Brad in the fourth quarter.

After a baseline layup to start the period, Beal knocked down back-to-back three-pointers in as many possessions trimming the Raptors lead to four, 116-112. After that forgettable start, Beal made nine of his next ten shots to give the Wizards a fighting chance. Then, with the Wizards down three and under one minute to play, Otto Porter air-balled a three-pointer but Sato was there for the rebound and kicked it to Brad for a three-pointer that tied the game and got Beal up to 40 points.

Not only was Beal scoring the basketball, but he was also getting others involved. He has developed a nice chemistry with Thomas Bryant over the past few games and you could tell as the Wizards went to the pick-and-roll and two-man game for several key baskets in the closing minutes.

His work on the boards was the cherry on top for Beal who notched the second triple-double of his career with 43 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds.

At this point, it would be borderline criminal if Brad doesn’t get an invite to Charlotte for the All-Star Game.

Otto Porter provides a spark off the Wizards bench in the first half

Chalk it up to the early start, the snow, the swarming defense from Toronto or all of the above because the Wizards came out lifeless in this one. Washington fell down double digits in this one and trailed 29-10 midway through the first quarter.

But when Otto Porter checked in, things changed for the Wizards. He started off hot, connecting on his first two baskets of the game and 3-of-4 overall sparking a 9-2 run as it was a major struggle for every Washington basket in the first quarter to that point.

In the second period, Porter got things started with a three from the wing in transition but more importantly, was making all of the hustle plays defensively. He had very active hands in the second period forcing Toronto into a couple of turnovers which provided a jolt on that end of the floor as Washington was able to slowly cut away at the lead.

Porter’s play in the first half was extremely important and came at a crucial time as this one was on the verge of getting out of hand.

A look back and a look ahead

The Wizards finished off this brutal six-game stretch with a 3-3 record. That’s good news if you’re hoping the Wizards make a playoff push as they showed that they can compete with some of the NBA’s best but bad news if you want the Wizards to start tanking for a better pick.

Washington now heads to London for a ‘home game’ against the New York Knicks on Thursday afternoon.

Nothing will change until the Wizards get fed up with just being okay

The Washington Post’s Candace Buckner first broke the news early Thursday morning that the Washington Wizards extended Ernie Grunfeld’s contract for another year in what was a hush-hush deal kept quiet from everyone outside of the organization.

Ben Standig of The Sports Capitol confirmed this report and also added that: “The deal was done before the calendar flipped to 2018.” The timing of the extension is extremely suspicious considering that the Wizards spent most of December hovering around .500 before going on a mini-run to end the month. But are we surprised that Grunfeld was extended for yet another year? He’s the only executive in the league who’s been in his current position for over 15 years who hasn’t won a championship or even made a conference finals appearance during his tenure.

Ted Leonsis declined to comment on Grunfeld’s reported extension, but his decision to stick with the current front office sends a crystal clear message that he’s satisfied with the current direction of the team.

Ever since he bought a majority stake in the team back in 2010 from the Pollin family, he’s talked about the importance of consistency and stability. Now he’s doubling down on that strategy. Though the Wizards might not make the same knee-jerk reactions that plague some other teams, they often wait far too long to make changes. For instance, Randy Wittman could have been let go in 2014 when it became clear he wasn’t going to maximize the offensive potential of his roster, but instead, they chose to wait until they missed the postseason altogether in 2016 before making a change.

The Wizards seem to be stuck in another rut now. They’re set to be in the playoff hunt for the foreseeable future, but they have the fifth-largest payroll in the NBA and they will be paying millions of dollars in luxury tax payments for a team that finished just four games over .500 for the season. With their core locked in on max deals and with John Wall’s supermax deal set to kick in starting in next summer, the Wizards are well on their way to paying repeater tax penalties in the future for a core that has failed to finish better than fourth in the Eastern Conference.

This raises an eyebrow as one would think ownership would be more eager to make big changes to get more out of how much they’ve invested in the team. It’s even more confusing when you consider the Wizards reportedly lost money last season despite putting together their best season in recent memory.

Even if you want to dispute the accounting on the Wizards’ profitability last season, there’s no question the Wizards are in a good position to make money moving forward. Their new local television deal with NBC Washington is now in effect, they’re starting to get new money from the lucrative naming rights deal they signed with Capital One last summer, and they’re one of only ten teams that has yet to sign a jersey sponsorship deal. With all of this new money pouring in, they don’t need to put together a better team to make money. The only thing that will push the Wizards to be better is a desire to get off the treadmill of mediocrity.

While it’s clear the Wizards won’t make changes in the front office this summer, there are still ways they can make positive changes if winning a championship is truly their “first and only priority.” All they have to do is look at what the team that knocked them out of the playoffs did to get out of their rut. Yes, the Raptors are currently down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals but they followed the right blueprint on how to change the culture and get the most out of what they have. That’s more than what the Wizards can say right now.

Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri (along with the fans and the rest of the front office) were fed up with their team’s annual early exits from the playoffs. But rather than chop up their All-Star backcourt in hopes of receiving a return package of greater or equal value, they went a different route. They put together a clear vision on how to get the most of their roster, got their stars to buy in, and it paved the way for a franchise-record 59 win season.

They also got there because player development is something they take seriously, not just something they talk about. They’ve poured money into resources that don’t show up on the salary cap like coaching, scouting, and their successful G-League affiliate, which helped develop some of their key bench players like Fred VanVleetPascal Siakam, and Jakob Poeltl. They maintained their focus on the draft and built a team stockpiled with cheap, young talent. The Raptors only have five players on the roster that make at least $3 million dollars annually. Washington has nine.

The window of opportunity in the NBA doesn’t stay open for long and feels all but shut for Washington with this iteration of the team unless they can make some serious changes. Until the Wizards get sick of tired of just being ‘relevant’ while running on the treadmill of mediocrity and make the necessary changes to get off of it, we shouldn’t expect much to change on the court.

Raptors at Wizards Game 6 Final Score: Washington falls apart in the fourth quarter again as Raptors win 102-92, closing out the series

Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 24 points and DeMar DeRozan added 16 as the Raptors beat the Wizards 102-92 and close out the series in Washington. Bradley Beal (32 points) and John Wall (23 points) combined to score 55 of Washington’s 92 points but like other games in this series, a third scorer never emerged to help carry the load.

The Wizards jumped on the Raptors 20-9 to start this game and it looked very well like we’d be heading back to Toronto for a Game 7.

Washington started the game 7-9 from the field and 3-3 from distance as they were clearly boosted by the home cooking. Toronto’s bench, which has been a strength for them all season long, came in at the beginning of the second quarter and was able to trim Washington’s lead to one, 34-33 at the blink of an eye.

The Wizards could have built this lead out to double-digits but there was a huge momentum swing in the Raptors favor to end the quarter. John Wall found a cutting Marcin Gortat who was swatted at the rim and in turn, ending in a three-pointer for the Raptors on the other end. Next time down, Bradley Beal threw an alley-oop pass to Wall that was just out of his reach resulting in another turnover. Again, the Raptors hit a three the next time down.

Rather than being up double-digits, Washington led by just three, 53-50 at halftime.

Bradley Beal carried the Wizards in the third quarter where he scored 12 of his 32 points. Beal was attacking the hole, getting to the line, and knocking down timely three-pointers for the Wizards.

After losing the lead, Washington looked to regain the momentum as Tomas Satoransky tipped in a Beal miss with time expiring as the Wizards led 78-73 entering the fourth quarter.

But then, everything fell apart. The Wizards looked tired and uninterested (more on that in a bit) in the fourth quarter and as a result, got blown out 29-14 in the final period.

Washington losses 102-92 and it’s finally time to stick a fork in this disappointing and frustrating season.

Washington falls apart again in the fourth quarter

The Wizards held a 78-73 lead entering the fourth quarter and had the momentum – but that’s when things started to fall apart. The Raptors, starting the period with all five reserves and outscored the Wizards playing four of their starters 10-2 to start the period.

Washington’s offense came to a screeching halt in the fourth quarter. The Wizards showed no energy to start the period and looked just as gassed as they did in the fourth quarter of Game 5. Washington built out the lead in the first half by getting out in transition but that all disappeared in the fourth quarter. On top of that, John Wall stopped driving to the hole and the Wizards reverted back to their bad habits in turning the ball over on lazy passes.

Toronto didn’t reinsert their starters until there were just over five minutes to play and even then, the reserves had already brought the team back. Kyle Lowry was excellent tonight and iced this game on two drives to the hole and finishing over Gortat to put the Raptors up 92-85 to bury the Wizards.

Washington, who held a five-point lead entering the fourth quarter, was outscored 29-14 in the final period.

They are who we thought they were

For a team who has blown countless fourth-quarter leads this season, we were crazy to think that bad habit amongst others would change once the playoffs started. Reminiscent of too many games in the past, the Wizards reverted to hero-ball, the opposite of everyone eats, for the entire fourth quarter and to no surprise, the predictable offense didn’t fool anyone.

From an outsider’s perspective, if I had told you in the fourth quarter that this was an elimination game, you wouldn’t have believed me. Washington committed 14 turnovers tonight, which isn’t terrible, but many of them came in the fourth quarter. What’s worse is, too many were of the live-ball variety leading to easy layups or wide-open shots in transition for the Raptors.

Lastly, a third scorer never emerged for the Wizards and they had no legs to close the game. Dennis Smith infamously said: “We are who they thought we were” and shame on us for thinking otherwise about this Wizards’ team.

A very important offseason looms

Here we are. The Wizards, a tax team for the first time in recent memory underachieved with just a 43-39 regular season record and got bounced in the first round by the one-seed, Toronto Raptors. Yes, injuries played a huge part in this season but there were so many other factors that played into this disappointment of a season. Poor roster construction, questionable coaching moves, locker room tension; you name it.

Will Ernie Grunfeld be around for much longer? Have we seen the last game of the Wall, Beal, and Porter trio? There are a lot of questions for a franchise that suddenly finds itself at a crossroads. And if the Wizards to plan on taking that next step, change must come.

Wizards at Raptors Game 5 final score: Washington falls apart late in 108-98 loss to Toronto

The Wizards had no answer for DeMar DeRozan who scored a game-high 32 points as the Raptors beat the Wizards 108-98 taking a 3-2 series lead. Kyle Lowry scored 17 points but Delon Wright exploded for 18 off the bench for a Toronto team who can now close this series out on Friday night.

John Wall tried to will the Wizards to victory with 26 points, 9 assists, and 9 rebounds, but he ran out of gas late and none of the other Washington players were able to pick up the slack.

Bradley Beal scored 20 points and Kelly Oubre had a nice game with 14 points but it wouldn’t be enough as the Wizards now find themselves on the brink of elimination.

Washington falls apart in the fourth quarter

Washington played outstanding tonight – through three quarters. The Wizards took every punch from the Raptors but the one Toronto landed in the fourth quarter was just too much for Washington to overcome.

The Wizards led by five, 87-82 on a Kelly Oubre dunk just minutes into the fourth quarter and it looked like they might go on a run.

But that’s when everything started to fall apart as Toronto outscored the Wizards 26-11 to close out the game after that play. Regular season bad habits like turnovers, being loose with the ball, and taking very tough shots reared their ugly heads late in the game as Washington started the quarter just 6-17 from the field and scored just 20 points in the period.

Tip your cap to the Raptors’ bench, mainly, Delon Wright who came alive in the fourth quarter. With Toronto up one and the shot clock winding down, Wright hit a three from the right wing to put Toronto up 97-93 and the scoring onslaught ensued. The Wizards looked gassed down the stretch and showed no life over the final six minutes of the game as the final score wasn’t indicative of how close this game was.

Washington needs a complete 48-minute effort on Friday if they’re going to keep their season alive. Because like we saw in Game 1 and again tonight, playing the Raptors tough for 3.5 quarters isn’t enough to come away with the win.

A third scorer never emerges

John Wall continued to stuff the stat sheet with 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. Bradley Beal chipped in with 20 (just 3 in the fourth quarter) but the team didn’t get a whole lot of offense from anyone else aside from Kelly Oubre (14 points).

The Wizards looked like they were trying to get Otto Porter going early on as he scored four points on 2-3 shooting in the opening minutes of the game. But Porter never really got going after that opening stretch as he ended the night with just nine points on 4-9 shooting.

Bradley Beal struggled once again in the fourth quarter as he only scored three points – on a three-pointer in garbage time. With Beal missing shots and Wall looking gassed in the fourth quarter, no one else emerged to get baskets for the Wizards.

That was the difference tonight as the backcourts essentially canceled each other out but Toronto had a third guy (Wright) explode for 18 points whereas Washington did not.

Washington couldn’t buy a basket in the second quarter

Ty Lawson drove into the teeth of the defense finding Kelly Oubre on the left wing for a three-pointer at the 9:02 mark giving Washington a 33-31 lead. After that bucket, the Wizards would go ice cold from the field.

Washington’s next made field goal came on a runner at the 3:56 mark to end what was a five minute and six second drought without a made basket. Fortunately for the Wizards, they were playing stout defense and were and were getting to the line where they knocked down 8-11 attempts in the first half.

Washington shot just 7-21 (33 percent) in the period and all things considered, it could have been a whole lot worse as the Wizards were down just one, 48-47 at halftime.

If I told you before the game that the Wizards would shoot 37.5 percent from the field in the first half yet would trail by just one, 48-47 at halftime; we’d all take it.

Game Notes

  • Marcin Gortat turned in another nice game with 10 points and 12 rebounds
  • The rotations and late game play calls remain a head-scratcher for this Washington team
  • The Wizards shot just 5-26 from three-point range
  • When a series is tied at two games apiece, the winner of Game 5 goes on to win the series 83 percent of the time

Raptors at Wizards Game 4: Washington turns in a gritty performance for a 106-98 victory over Toronto

Bradley Beal fouled out with just under four minutes to play with the game tied at 92 sucking all the life out of Capital One Arena. Even though the game was tied, the Wizards looked defeated. But the Wizards, the up-and-down Wizards, they don’t know what to expect next Wizards persevered and closed the game on a 14-4 run and beat the Raptors 106-98 evening the series at two games apiece.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 31 points and John Wall added 27 as the Washington backcourt one-ups the Toronto backcourt of Lowry and DeRozan outscoring them 58-54 tonight. Otto Porter was quiet in the first half but scored 11 in the second half for the Wizards who have now won eight straight home playoff games dating back to last season.

Things looked bleak for the home squad early on. With the refs calling the game tight, the Raptors, well mainly DeMar DeRozan were in ultra-attack mode. DeRozan went right at the Wizards and as a result, got 12 free throw attempts (made 9) in just the first quarter alone. The Wizards, on the other hand, couldn’t buy a bucket. Washington shot just 36 percent from the field in the first quarter and trailed 30-22 after one period.

That stagnant offense carried over to the second quarter where John Wall and Bradley Beal took turns going one-on-one against the Toronto defense. To no one’s surprise, that didn’t work either and the Wizards managed to shoot even worse (34 percent) in the second quarter trailing 51-40 at halftime.

Washington’s offense finally got going in the third quarter, once they were able to run. The Wizards got out in transition and Porter was the beneficiary knocking down two three-pointers in as many possessions to cut into the Raptors lead. Marcin Gortat, who scored 12 points tonight had two buckets from close is as Washington used a 13-2 run to tie the game at 58 in the third period.

Washington opened the period 13-20 from the field and matched their first-half point production with 40 in the third quarter, as we’d be all tied up at 80 after three.

All that excitement looked like it would be short-lived as the Raptors opened the period on an 8-0 run taking an 88-80 lead. But Bradley Beal would come alive knocking down a three in transition and two free throws to tie the game again at 90.

That’s when all hell broke loose. With just four minutes to play, DeMar DeRozan stumbled over Beal’s foot in what was a very questionable foul call, fouling Beal out of the game. With the game tied at 92, the Wizards would have to play the last three minutes and change without their best scorer.

But that’s when the Wizards locked in defensively. Washington was able to limit Lowry and DeRozan down the stretch who’d been killing them all night. DeRozan missed four of his last five shots to end the game and the Wizards knocked down their free throws to ice it.

We’ve got a brand new series as we’re all tied up at two games apiece now.

Wall and Beal outduel DeRozan and Lowry for a second straight game

John Wall and Bradley Beal got the best of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry as the duo combined for 58 points. Wall scored 27 of those to go along with 14 assists and six rebounds in the Wizards victory.

Bradley Beal continued his hot shooting out of the gate with nine points on 4-6 shooting in the first quarter. Wall and Beal were the only Wizards players who could do anything on the offensive end in the first half scoring 23 of the Wizards’ 40 points.

Beal got going yet again in the third quarter with five quick points to get the Wizards back within striking distance. John Wall’s jumper was falling too as he was knocking down his pull-up and elbow jumper with consistency. Wall was able to get to the line tonight but knocked down just 7 of his 10 attempts. But as Wall does best, he was getting others involved, dishing out most of his 14 assists after halftime.

DeMar DeRozan was unstoppable tonight scoring a game-high 35 points this evening. The Wizards had no answer for DeRozan early on as he got in the paint, knocked down long twos, and was able to get to the line evidenced by his 18 free throw attempts. The Wizards had no answer for the All-Star through three quarters but were able to put the clamps on him in the fourth quarter.

To no one’s surprise, another ‘House of Guards’ game results in another Washington victory.

Good Oubre Bad Oubre was on full display tonight

Kelly Oubre’s rollercoaster of a season continued tonight as the third-year player could not knock down a jump shot. However, that didn’t prevent him from attacking the hole and getting to the line. Once Oubre realized his shot wasn’t falling, he’d stick his head down and attack the hole – sometimes resulting in a layup, sometimes resulting in a foul, and other times, resulting in a turnover. Oubre’s 10 points off the bench were highest amongst Washington reserves tonight and the Wizards needed every one of them.

Oubre came up big for the Wizards on the defensive end with the role of stopping DeRozan in the second half. He did about as good as a job as one could in stopping the All-NBA scorer. With Beal fouled out, Oubre did a terrific job snagging loose balls and coming up with two steals in the final four minutes.

The Wizards need this type of effort from Oubre if they are going to win this series.

Tip Ins

  • Marcin Gortat had another very nice game with 12 points (6-8 shooting) to go along with 6 rebounds

  • Otto Porter, who scored just one point in the first half ended the game with 12 including many timely buckets as the Wizards were mounting their comeback
  • The Wizards had another nice game defensively coming up with 10 steals and 8 blocks for the evening

Raptors at Wizards Game 3: Washington protects home court with 122-103 blowout win

John Wall and Bradley Beal explode for 28 points each as the Wizards stay alive in the series, blowing out the Raptors 122-103 on Friday night. Marcin Gortat had a throwback game with 16 points and five rebounds and Otto Porter chipped in with 8 points and 8 rebounds as the Wizards win their seventh straight home playoff game dating back to last season.

Everyone not named Bradley Beal looked tight for the Wizards to start this game. Beal, who took just 11 shots and scored only nine points in Game 2 was ultra aggressive early on scoring 12 points on 5-7 shooting in the first quarter.

But it was the energy from Kelly Oubre that jumpstarted the Wizards. Oubre was very active on the defensive end deflecting passes while also diving on the floor for loose balls. That activated an 11-2 run in the second quarter for the Wizards to take control of the game 69-61, at the break.

The second half was very chippy and will be something to keep an eye on as the series progresses. In the opening minutes of the third quarter, Wall threw an outlet pass to Beal who went up for the dunk and got hit across the head by Kyle Lowry resulting in a flagrant-1 foul. Just minutes later, Jonas Valanciunas got called for an offensive foul and when Beal went to grab the ball from Valanciunas, he wasn’t having it. The two got tangled up but it was Wall and Serge Ibaka who ended up getting into it and both picking up technical fouls.

That sparked another jolt into the Wizards as they went on a 12-2 run to go up 94-76 and never looked back in this one. Aside from a mini lag in the fourth quarter where the Raptors were able to claw within 13, Washington had this one in the bag.

Washington protects home court and are on the series scoreboard, 2-1.

We finally get a House of Guards game

One of these guys isn’t enough – the Wizards need both Bradley Beal and John Wall to play well if they’re going to win this series, and tonight they got it. The duo combined for 56 points, 18 assists (Wall with 14), and seven steals in this one. John Wall got off to a slow start connecting on just 1-4 field goal attempts but Beal snapped out of his mini-funk with 12 points on 5-7 shooting in the first quarter.

Wall looked to push the ball in transition tonight finding Beal in the corner for wide-open threes. In the halfcourt, Wall would drive baseline or into a crowded painted area only to kick it out to Beal for the wide-open jumper.

The House of Guards (do we still call them that?) combined for 40 of the Wizards 69 first-half points this evening.

In games 1 and 2, Wall was outstanding but Beal never arrived to the party. It’s nights like tonight that remind you what this team is capable of when both guys show up.

Washington shows up on the defensive end

This isn’t brain surgery here but when the Wizards lock in defensively, they’re a very good team. The Wizards played much better defense to start this one but you couldn’t tell by looking at the score as Toronto started the game 5-7 from the field including 3-4 from three-point range. But, active hands defensively, starting with Oubre, flipped the script for the Wizards in this one.

The Wizards got their hands on passes, were first to the floor, and forced Toronto into many mistakes as they turned 13 Raptors turnovers into 22 points in the first half alone. Many of those turnovers were of the live-ball variety and there’s no one better than Wall to push the ball on an odd-man break off of those live-ball turnovers.

Marcin Gortat had a bit of a throwback game tonight and played much better on Valanciunas even though he scored 14 points. Mahinmi stepped in and played his role as a rim protector with three blocks (all in the first half) and Mike Scott held his own against the likes of Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl.

The difference in defensive effort from Games 1 & 2 and tonight was night and day.

Tip Ins

  • Mike Scott was a perfect 4-4 from the field for 12 points and the dagger to all but end this one

  • Otto Porter only scored eight points tonight but knocked down two timely three-pointers at times where the Wizards’ lead was dwindling
  • Ty Lawson continues to provide value with 5 points, 2 assists, and 4 rebounds in just 15 minutes of play