Raptors 122, Wizards 119: Wall-less Washington tops Toronto

Toronto Raptors - Lorenzo Brown
Toronto Raptors - Lorenzo Brown /

After a couple of critical free-throw misses by Kyle Lowry, the Toronto Raptors lost to the John Wall-less Washington Wizards in a hard-fought battle.

Kyle Lowry’s fourth quarter performance was a large reason why the Toronto Raptors were still in the game late in the fourth. Unfortunately, he was also the reason the why they lost.

Lowry scored 17 points in the fourth quarter on 75-percent shooting, hitting multiple baskets in the final minutes, to keep the game within reach. With four seconds remaining, down four, he hit a driving layup to pull the game within just two points. Expecting to receive a foul on the inbound, Bradley Beal fumbled the pass, allowing Lowry to steal the ball. Beal’s momentum immediately carried him into Lowry, putting Kyle on the line.

Down two with just three seconds remaining, Lowry missed the front-end of the pair. Strangely, even though the Raptors had no time-outs remaining, he made the second basket, essentially sealing the game.

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The game started off well for the Raptors. After the first quarter they were up seven, scored 34 points, and were shooting above 60-percent from the field. In the first, the Raptors front-court dominated the action. Anunoby, Valanciunas, and Ibaka combined for 24 points, only missing three shots in the process.

The second quarter was played to a stale-mate. Jonas Valanciunas kept the Raptors above water, going 5-for-5 during the quarter, scoring 11 points and grabbing three rebounds. The Wizards relied on a mob scoring mentality, as Bradley Beal the team’s star player with John Wall out, was held to just two points in the entire first half.

The game flipped in the third quarter. The Wizards outscored the Raptors 33-25, with Lowry and DeRozan struggling to find a rhythm. Meanwhile, after an unusually quite first half, Bradley Beal went ballistic, dropping 17 points in the quarter.

The Wizards took their great play into the beginning of the fourth, increasing their lead to nine at one point. Lowry responded, leading the Raptors all the way back to tie the game in the fourth quarter, only to have it fall apart as previously mentioned.

Ultimately for Toronto, the team’s poor bench play and inability to rebound lost them the game. Normally a strength, the Raptors bench scored just 23 points and a had -28 net rating.  Meanwhile, the team was out-rebounded 44-to-32 and allowed 12 offensive boards.

With John Wall out, Toronto had no reason to lose this game. They were the more talented team and frankly loss in large part due to the Wizards superior effort and focus. 82 games is a long season, mental focus losses happen. Still, it was disappointing to watch a Raptors team that has been consistent all year play flat against an Eastern Conference rival.

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The Raptors will get no time to rest, as Damian Lillard and company head into Toronto for a game Friday 7:30 PM ET.