Raptors 84 – Wizards 82: CoJo for the win!


More proof that an NBA game is never over – the Raptors get a last millisecond basket to stun Washington.

Another ragged road game, another gut-check victory. The Toronto Raptors were behind the Washington Wizards for virtually the entire game, until a split-second after(!) the final buzzer. A Cory Joseph 3-ball from the corner, released just in time, hit nothing but net, and Toronto escaped the U.S. capital with an improbable W.

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The stars aligned for the Raptors in the game’s final five seconds. DeMar DeRozan drained a pair of free throws to cut the Wizards’ margin to a point. John Wall was fouled by Kyle Lowry (another superb game turned in; more on our best player later), and missed both from the stripe. The second flub was rebounded by DD, who called timeout. He received the inbounds pass, turned the corner and heaved a pass to the uncovered Joseph. Ball game.

The preposterous win papered over a dreadful four quarters by our guys, lowlighted by 22 turnovers. These were of every kind, including a bunch of foot-touching-line mistakes. DeMarre Carroll had a night to forget, with one basket in 27+ minutes. Bismack Biyombo was a tower of strength on the boards, pulling down 16, and blocking four shots, but had no points in almost 35 minutes. That’s hard to (not) do.

Nov 28, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) takes a three point shot during the first quarter against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The first quarter saw the Raptors display their unwanted signature, a chilly start. After taking a 9-4 lead, the shooting died, and the Wizards reeled off 13 unanswered points. DeMarre Carroll was the worst culprit, hitting none of his five shots, but Luis Scola only made one. Bismack Biyombo tried no shots, so there’s a total of one basket among three starters. Kyle Lowry once again kept Toronto in the game with 14 points, which included three 3-balls.

The offense also misfired with 13 turnovers, as the Raptors persisted in dribbling into trouble. When they did get shots off, they were one-and-done. Three offensive rebounds in the half were emphatic proof of that.

The second half brought little relief from the scoring drought. Lowry and DeRozan were compelled to take even more shots than usual, and were getting no help from the officials. Toronto made only 14 trips to the line all game. Our starting backcourt committed 10 turnovers, which was double their assist count.

Despite the Raptors offensive grinding of gears, the Wizards couldn’t find the knockout punch. Toronto was able to claw back to a 70-all draw with 9:11 to play, but then sputtered some more. The Wiz pushed the lead up to eight with 4:24 left, and never counted another basket.

Defensively, the Raptors were competent. I was pleased with their collapsing at the hoop, as the Wizards found the paint an unfriendly place.

Cory did more than hit the game-winning shot. He needed only 7 shots to score 12 points, added 6 assists, and played more than Lowry. The guy is wonderful.

Hopefully he and his mates got some sleep on the flight home. The Raptors are back at the Air Canada Centre at suppertime to face the Phoenix Suns.

Next: Trade Proposal: James Johnson moves on

Putbacks: Patrick Patterson hit two of three long balls, and seems to have emerged from his dreadful shooting slump…John Wall was six for 25…James Johnson was let off his leash for a few minutes, and had a pair of buckets; I don’t know what he’s doing wrong in Dwane Casey’s eyes.