Wizards

Wizards

With the season series on the line – and the pivotal tiebreaker that could come in handy for the playoffs – the Wizards couldn’t put away another one Friday.

They came from 19 down but fell to the Toronto Raptors 114-106, to lose the series 2-1 and failed to strengthen their hold on the No. 3 spot in the East. Instead, they dropped to fourth based on the tiebreaker.

The Wizards still have tiebreaker edges with one game left vs. the Boston Celtics (2-1) and the Atlanta Hawks (2-1).

John Wall (30 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three blocks) and Bradley Beal (26 points, seven rebounds, four assists) led the effort for Washington (36-24). Otto Porter (18 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals) made up for going scorless for the only time this season in Wednesday's matchup. Markieff Morris (11 points, eight rebounds, five assists) only shot 4-for-13. 

Toronto (37-25) was led by DeMar DeRozan (game-high 32 points, 10 rebounds, five assists), Serge Ibaka (14 points, eight rebounds), Norman Powell (21 points) and Cory Joseph (15 points).

Washington opened by shooting just 15 of 46 in the first half which led to the deficit while Toronto made 22 of 37 shots.

Still, they took the lead for a moment with 3:30 left in the third quarter when Porter grabbed and offensive rebound and found Beal spotting up for a three, 72-71.

But the second unit couldn’t give them the spark they had in a 105-96 win on Wednesday, when they sparked a 26-3 run behind Bojan Bogdanovic.

The Wizards cut the deficit to 108-105 on a three-pointer by Wall the final minute, but DeRozan responded with a three over Bogdanovic with 20 seconds left to seal it.

 

--Beal had a free run in Toronto which looked clueless on how to defend him Wednesday. He got the ball of curls with nothing but space for open looks that got him off to a fast start. Here, they loaded up on Beal and made Wall the scorer. He had 18 in the first half but just two assists. Beal only had one point until he converted his first field goal at 5:38 of the second quarter as the Wizards got the deficit to less than double digits.

--Wall’s ball pressure on Joseph was key in turning the tide. Toronto couldn’t get the ball inside as easily nor get their offense started cleanly. The Raptors shot just 7 of 22 in the third quarter when the deficit was trimmed to 79-78 entering the fourth. Joseph had two of the six turnovers and shot

--Bogdanovic (six points), who had a season-high 27 in Toronto, didn’t have the explosion this time. He didn’t make his first field goal until he banked in a jumper in the fourth. He led a bench that totaled just 14 points. Toronto produced 44 led by Powell.

--Jason Smith’s eight points on 4-for-4 shooting was a vital part of a 26-3 run by the Wizards to turn the previous game into a blowout. He didn’t log a minute Friday.

--In his first appearance since being acquired this week, Brandon Jennings was ineffective with the second unit. He played five minutes in the first half and missed his only shot. Twice, Morris wasn’t expecting passes from him and bobbled the ball. It led to uncomfortable possessions with contested, low percentage shots. Jennings missed a three that led to a transition basket in the fourth and earlier in the quarter he tried to back down Delon Wright (nine points) and had his shot blocked.

--After playing a season-high 21 minutes, Ian Mahinmi played 15 and was crucial to the defense against the small lineups that Raptors coach Dwane Casey deployed. He used a lot of three guards plus two forwards. Mahinmi kept Patrick Patterson (eight points) in front of him and successfully switched onto guards. Starting center Jonas Valanciunas (two points) only played 12 minutes. When the Wizards were successful combating the small-ball lineup of Golden State, they used Morris at the five.

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