The last time the Wizards met the Toronto Raptors, Cory Joseph hit the game-winning basket from the corner. Wednesday, with two chances on clean looks from deep to send the game into overtime, the Wizards misfired as they lost to their nemesis again to end 2015 with a 14-16 record.
Otto Porter (20 points, nine rebounds) and John Wall (19 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds, five steals) each had open looks that didn't go down as time expired at Air Canada Centre.
Out of a timeout, Jared Dudley (17 points) knocked down a corner three on a feed from Wall to pull the Wizards to 92-91 with 40 seconds left in a game they hadn't led since it was 13-12. After DeMar DeRozan, who shot 9 of 24, missed on Toronto's next possession Dudley had another chance with an open three but missed.
DeRozan (34 points) tied his season high as he made 15 of 15 free throws. The next highest scorer for the Raptors (20-13) was Terrence Ross (14 points) off the bench. Kyle Lowry (11 points) was held to 2 of 12 shooting and had six turnovers.
- The defense that was lacking in Monday's 17-point loss to the L.A. Clippers was back for Washington. Toronto only shot 28 of 82 (34%), including 6 of 24 on threes (25%). Where the Wizards were lacking was defensive rebounding. They allowed the Raptors to grab 15 offensive boards which was why they had a 39-17 edge in free-throw attempts. Biyombo and Jonas Valanciunas each had five offensive rebounds.
- Porter returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 16 when stiffness in his left knee was a byproduct of a deep thigh bruise. His production what the Wizards need with Bradley Beal out. In particular, he was 3 of 5 from three which has been his Achilles heel all season. He's 6 of 10 in two games since returning. Porter had been shooting less than 30% from long range.
- Gortat picked up his fourth foul on an offensive rebound by Biyombo with 4:15 left in the third quarter and sent him to the foul line. What had been a one-possession game when the Wizards came out of halftime with an 11-2 run, was back to 64-55. Gortat shot just 5 of 15 en route to 12 points and nine rebounds. But only two points and three rebounds came from him in playing 16-plus minutes in the second half.
- That Garrett Temple is 6 of 24 shooting in his last three games and Kelly Oubre is 3 of 9 is to be expected. Oubre, a rookie, has seen his time dwindle with Porter's return, which it should as long as Porter continues to play well. It's harder to get into a rhythm when playing spot minutes for a 19-year-old. Temple's offensive outbursts are complementary to the offense, not the focal point for the Wizards so he's not going to drop 20 a night each time. But he was key in the poor shooting performance by the Raptors' backcourt (11 of 36).
- Lowry is one of four guards ahead of Wall in the All-Star voting in the East. No doubt Wall had extra motivation to play better -- and he did -- and late in the game he was matched with DeRozan and defended him perfectly. Wall, however, was called for a foul on what looked like a clean block of DeRozan on a jump shot. The foul shots made the score 92-88.