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.
The third quarter dooms Washington
Trevor Ariza, Jeff 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.