Despite Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors digging themselves a 23-point hole late in the third quarter and Kyle Kuzma looking like the second coming of Larry Bird, the Washington Wizards managed to blow separate 23-point and 16-point leads in a 111-107 loss to Toronto.
Kuzma and Jordan Poole looked ready to hand Toronto one of the most pitiful losses in recent memory, as they engaged in a wire-to-wire beatdown for the first three quarters. As seems to be the case, however, Washington had to blow this lead in a very stupid way.
With the Wizards up 10 with five minutes remaining, Kuzma wanted coach Wes Unseld Jr. to challenge a deflected ball out of bounds he thought touched a Raptors player. Kuzma abandoned his defensive responsibilities to get Unseld’s attention on the Washington sideline.
Siakam found Chris Boucher, who dished it to Scottie Barnes for a wide-open layup in the five-on-four halfcourt set. Momentum wholly shifted to the Raptors’ side following this blunder, as the Wizards looked more like the Washington Generals down the stretch.
Kyle Kuzma gaffe helps Toronto Raptors beat struggling Wizards
Toronto’s offense was laughable for most of the game, but they managed to get bailed out when the Wizards played invisible defense down the stretch. On the other side of the floor, a unit that let Washington shoot over 60% well into the third quarter without OG Anunoby finally buckled down.
The Wizards did not make a shot from the field in the final seven minutes of the game, due in equal parts to the Raptors finally cracking their offensive code and Washington’s own inability to hit the few wide-open shots they got. Unseld has to be questioning his life choices.
As brilliant as Siakam was, Toronto has to leave this game feeling quite lucky. None of their starters made a 3-pointer, which made this game the first in 10 years where the Raptors won without a triple from one of their first five out. Going 4-21 from 3-point range and turning the ball over 16 times is not usually a winning formula.
Toronto made their fans sweat more than they should have against perhaps the worst team in the league in the second half of a back-to-back, but wins should always be celebrated in this league. The comedy element involved in this game does at least make things a bit funnier in retrospect.