Toronto Raptors: Three takeaways from OT win vs Wizards

Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

After leading the whole game, the Toronto Raptors snuck away with a win against the Washington Wizards. What did we learn from the game?

Early on, it looked as if the Toronto Raptors were going to run away with a blow out victory. Toronto jumped out to a 23-point lead midway through the second quarter, thanks in large part to a shutdown defense. The Raptors posted a defensive rating of 78 during the first 18 minutes of the game. They posted a defensive rating of 144 the rest of regulation.

After Toronto’s initial run, Washington mounted their comeback.  The Wizards shot just under 50-percent from both the field and from three as they torched a Raptors defense which looked disinterested at times. Perhaps the Raptors thought the Wiz would fold after an 18-minute showing. They did not.

The Wizards did have the lead in regulation. Bradley Beal‘s shot with 21-seconds remaining tied the game for the first time since 0-0. They never had a lead until the second overtime. Yet, with less than 20-seconds remaining in OT2, Toronto was down three. A Kawhi Leonard miss, followed by a Kawhi Leonard rebound, followed by a Kawhi Leonard assist, led to Serge Ibaka knocking down an open three-point attempt. With 15-seconds remaining, Toronto was up one.

The Wizards missed the ensuing possession, and Toronto escaped with a victory. What did we learn from the game? Here are my three big takeaways.

1. Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal was undeniably spectacular in this contest. He finished with 43-points on efficient shooting, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, and his second career triple-double. Perhaps he was giving a bit of an audition for a potential suitor this deadline, although that’s probably reading the tea-leaves a bit too much.

With John Wall out, Bradley Beal has been given the keys to the car. During Wall’s absence, Beal is averaging 31 points, five rebounds, and seven assists per game. More importantly, the Wizards are playing better as a team.

2. Turnovers

Toronto ranks 11th in the NBA with 14.1 turnovers per game. Washington ranks 12th with 14.3. On Sunday, these two teams combined for 41 turnovers! If you’re keeping track at home, that’s a lot. Even before the two overtimes, they combined for 35 (18 for Toronto, 17 for Washington).

Turnovers served as a bellwether for the entire game. Early on, it was Washington who carried the turnover bug. In the second half, it was the Raptors. Perhaps it was the matinée start. Perhaps it was a fluke. Either way, it would have been easy to justify a loss for either team after this slop-fest.

3. Somebody help Kawhi

The Raptors had 16 points in both overtime periods. Kawhi had 10 of them. The Raptors had four field goals in both overtime periods. Kawhi had three of them. The Raptors had one assist in both overtime periods. It belonged to Kawhi as well.

Having your best player have the ball at the end of games is nice. Having your entire team show up would be better. Admittedly, Toronto does have a propensity to run Leonard-isolations too often when the game is in the balance. Still, someone else needs to take charge.

Kyle Lowry has been oddly passive whenever Leonard is on the floor. If the Raptors want to advance deep in the playoffs, it will require more of a team effort in clutch time.

dark. Next. The full Patrick McCaw scouting report

Make sure to check out our takeaways after each game at