WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (Ticker)
--Toronto Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens had
an easy plan for Tuesday's contest with the Washington Wizards -
keep it simple.
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The strategy worked.
scored 21 points, Jerome
grabbed 20 rebounds and a trio of players under 10-day
contracts contributed significantly as the undermanned Toronto
Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards, 84-75.
The Raptors got career nights from NBDL refugees Rafer Alston
and Damone Brown
to end a seven-game road losing streak and post
just their third win in 21 games.
"Our three guys on the bench gave us good minutes," Wilkens
said. "We kept it simple tonight. The only time I put
something in that they didn't know was during the timeouts."
Alston had 13 points and a career-high 11 assists while Brown
contributed career highs of 13 points and 32 minutes. Art Long
also under a 10-day contract, had six rebounds and two blocks.
"We were drawing up plays as the game was going on and the guys
didn't even know the plays," said Toronto's Antonio Davis
had 10 points and five rebounds. "But we somehow managed to do
exactly what we said. We stuck together for 48 minutes and came
up with a victory."
"It was weird trying to go out there and learn new plays, but
coach said go out there and play ball and everything would take
care of itself," said Brown, who saw his first NBA action since
playing 17 games for Philadelphia last season.
Playing without injured star Jerry Stackhouse
, the Wizards fell
behind midway through the third quarter but closed within 64-61
with 8:15 left in the fourth on a jumper by Larry Hughes
and Alston answered with 3-pointers around a dunk
by Washington's Brendan Haywood
, and Jerome Williams added a
dunk for a 72-63 lead with 6:39 left. The Wizards never got
closer than eight thereafter.
scored 22 points and Hughes finished with 12 for
the Wizards, who shot just 34 percent (29-of-85) from the field
as Washington lost for just the second time in eight games.
Stackhouse was out of action with a groin problem while the
Raptors used only eight players, the rest sidelined with
"I think you can see how much Jerry brings to our team," Wizards
coach Doug Collins said. "Jerry is a high-energy guy. You
take him out of the lineup and our starting team does not have a
lot of energy."
In addition to his season high in rebounds, Jerome Williams
scored 14 points as the Raptors shot 44 percent (34-of-78) from
"My teammates let me grab them," Williams said. "There was
about a good seven that Antonio could have had, but he said, 'Go
ahead, take them.'"
Washington, which entered the contest a season-high game over
.500, came out strong.
Jordan and Haywood each scored four points and the Raptors
missed their first eight shots as Washington took a 10-0 lead.
Toronto came back to tie the game at 22-22 in the second quarter
but trailed 41-38 at halftime.
"We were about ready to call someone out of the crowd to come
help us. ... We're going to tell Lenny to put on a uniform
next," joked Alston, who has averaged 14.0 points in three games
The Raptors took their first lead 2:23 into the third period
when a bucket by Williams gave them a 42-41 edge. Washington
went ahead once more, 50-49, on a tip-in by Jordan, but jumpers
by Williams and Peterson gave Toronto the lead for good.
Jordan went just 8-of-23 from the field to continue his poor
shooting. Over his last five games, Jordan is shooting just 36
percent (35-of-96), compared to 44 percent for the season.
"Damone came in and played solid defense," Wilkens said. "The
guy is about 6-9 and Jordan is 6-6, so that's going to bother a
guy's shot all night long."