Wizards 109, Raptors 92
As the Washington Wizards pursue their stated goal of finishing
ninth in the Eastern Conference, seeing Bradley Beal back on the
court was a welcome sight.
Beal scored 24 points in his return from a five-game absence,
leading the Wizards to a 109-92 victory over the Toronto Raptors on
Emeka Okafor had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and John Wall added
18 points and 10 assists for Washington. The Wizards, who came in
having lost two in a row on the road, won their seventh straight at
home and moved into a tie with Toronto for 10th place in the
”They kept leaving me open and my teammates just kept finding
me,” said Beal, who was out with a sprained ankle. ”I was able to
knock down some shots. I stayed confident, and the ball ended up in
my hands a lot.”
Beal shot 8 for 14 from the field, including a career-high-tying
six 3-pointers – on nine attempts – in 30 minutes.
”We’ve seen it in his attitude,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman
said. ”He’s been working, and he wants to get back. That’s a good
sign when you’ve only got 10 games left. I’ve been in it long
enough where I’ve seen guys say they don’t want to get back in
The Wizards – 8 1/2 games behind eighth-place Milwaukee with
nine games remaining – are realistically out of the playoff
picture, but trail Philadelphia by three games for ninth.
”We’re playing for something that’s bigger than just nine games
left,” Martell Webster said. ” Fighting for that ninth spot
because for us, that’s fuel for next year.”
Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the
Raptors, losers of six of their last seven. Demar DeRozan and Kyle
Lowry added 15 apiece. Toronto leading scorer Rudy Gay scored 11
points – about seven below his average – while being limited to 26
minutes due to foul trouble.
”I thought we came out with a relaxed disposition and didn’t
come out ready to go. The guys didn’t look like they were ready to
move their feet defensively,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. ”We
had some frustration fouls which kind of set the tone for the
course of the game.”
Toronto, which has lost six of seven, cut a 20-point
third-quarter deficit to six twice in the fourth quarter before
Washington pulled away.
The Wizards shot 48.2 percent from the field (41 of 85) to 39.5
percent for Toronto (32 of 81).
Paced by Beal, the Wizards’ reserves outscored their Toronto
Washington increased a 10-point halftime lead to 16 with an 8-2
run to open the second half. Toronto cut it to 70-62, but Beal hit
3-pointers on three of the Wizards’ next four possessions to make
A little over a minute later, Beal hit another 3 and, after a
Toronto miss, Okafor’s dunk put Washington ahead 86-66 with 2:18
left in the quarter.
The Wizards scored 12 points from the foul line in the opening
12 minutes. Wall’s two free throws gave the Wizards a 27-25 lead at
the end of a first quarter that featured nine lead changes.
With Washington ahead by one midway through the second quarter,
Keven Seraphin scored six of his 11 first-half points in an 8-2
Washington spurt. A minute later, Wall fed Trevor Ariza for a
fast-break layup that made it 50-41 and Washington led by 10 at the
Wall turned the ball over just one time.
”John’s line is spectacular for a point guard. ”I like to see
lines like that. He got the ball moving around. He had good pace to
the game,” Wittman said. ”I thought he did a great job on
controlling and dictating what we needed to do from an offensive
standpoint. I thought this was one of his better all-around
Wall added: ”I didn’t have to be super aggressive and score a
lot. I knew a lot of teams are keying on me the way I’ve been
playing lately so I’m just doing a great job of taking the shots I
have and if my teammates are open, doing a great job of finding
Gay was held to five points in the half and DeMar DeRozan to
four, while Valanciunas scored 16 for Toronto.
”We’ve just got to be focused,” DeRozan said. ”We’ve got to
understand we’ve only got so many games left. We’ve got to put our
mind to it and play hard every game. It’s as simple as that.”
NOTES: Wizards F Nene missed his fourth game with a sore right
knee. … The last time Washington won seven consecutive home games
was during the 2006-07 season, when they won 10 straight. … The
Wizards visit Toronto on Wednesday to wrap up the season-series.
Washington has won two of the first three meetings.