THE FACTS: The Toronto Raptors (28-47) defeated the Washington Wizards (28-47) 88-78 at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday, snapping a two-game losing streak and tying the season series 2-2. Raptors rookie center Jonas Valanciunas scored a career-high 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 25 points. Kyle Lowry added nine points, eight rebounds and a game-high 13 assists.
It was a tale of two halves as the Wizards took a decisive 50-39 lead into halftime, but the Raptors responded with a 15-4 run early in the third quarter and regained the lead pouring in 29 points, ten from DeRozan and holding the Wizards to 12, for a 68-62 lead after three.
The Raptors continued to get their shots as they challenged Washington on all of theirs and struggled shooting 3-for-14 from the quarter, making their last field goal with 7:22 left in the game.
The Wizards were led by John Wall's 20 points, Emeka Okafor scored 17 with eight rebounds and Nene dropped a dozen.
QUOTABLE: "The physicality of the game doesn't bother him anymore, where before he would kind of disappear a little bit. But now JV is huge at the end of the game he can make free throws, he can pass the basketball, but most of all he can defend without fouling, so that growth for him has been huge."
-- Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey on Valanciunas' game.
THE STAT: After shooting .422 percent from the field in the first half, the Raptors buckled down defensively in the second half and brought the Wizards' field goal percentage down to .325 percent for the game, specifically .190 percent (4-for-21) in the third quarter where they got back into the game.
TURNING POINT: The tone of the game changed right after halftime with the Raptors With the Raptors clawing back into the game, but never extending the lead to more than eight points, it wasn't until Valanciunas knocked down a pair of free throws with 28.8 seconds left in the game to put Toronto up 86-78.
QUOTABLE II: "I'm working a lot on the defense on the low post, they can still move me, but I'm getting better every day and trying to improve that I can handle with them on the low post."
-- Raptors center Valaciunas on his post defense.
HOT: The rookie Valanciunas was getting his shots to fall, shooting 4-for-7 from the field and career highs in free throws attempted and made, shooting 16-for-18 from the line. He finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
NOT: Rudy Gay was fresh off a season-high 34 points, but couldn't find the net on Wednesday, shooting 2-for-8 from the field and finishing with six points, eight rebounds and four turnovers.
GOOD MOVE: In the fourth quarter, Landry Fields picked up Wall as a defensive assignment and held him scoreless from the field, (0-for-3).
NOTABLE: Wizards rookie Bradley Beal was shut down for the remainder of the season prior to game time with a right fibula stress injury. Valanciunas' double-double was his eighth of the season. Fields was back in action for the Raptors after missing the last game getting tests on his right elbow.
UP NEXT: For the Raptors; Friday @ Minnesota, Saturday @ Milwaukee, Tuesday @ Chicago. For the Wizards; Saturday vs. Indiana, Sunday @ Boston and Tuesday @ New York.