This was an unpredictable affair that saw both teams continuously swap runs, which continued well into the fourth quarter. A Leandro Barbosa three put the Raptors ahead 96-83 with 8:46 to play, but they couldn't hit a field goal over their next 5:07 and saw their lead trimmed to two after a 13-2 Wizards charge.
Toronto however, found another gear late as Barbosa, Andrea Bargnani and Reggie Evans all hit free throws during an 11-3 three run capped by a clutch Jose Calderon three. That restored a double-digit lead with 1:19 to play and win no. 19 on the season was secure.
Impossible to choose between two very potent performances from Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan. On a night where Bargnani hit his 500th career 3-pointer, his overall game on Friday was about so much more as his game-high 33 points came on just 15 shots with 15 points coming on 18 trips to the line.
For DeRozan, we're seeing the continued maturation of a player that's really starting to see the light go on offensively. The swingman went 11-15 from the floor and eight-of-nine from the line for his third game with at least 30 points in March and his fifth overall on the season.
The Regend grows larger still. First and foremost were the rebounds as Evans grabbed another 15 off the bench on Friday (six offensive) to lead the team in that category for a fifth straight game since his return from a foot fracture.
But while his work on the glass is primarily how Evans plies his trade, his efforts at the free throw line on Friday were also big. He went five-of-eight overall from the stripe and hit all four of his attempts in the fourth quarter (all within the final 2:14) that helped the Raptors survive Washington's late run.
"You can tell from the beginning of the game when he put it on the floor he was aggressive going to the basket. I also think a lot of it came because we shared the ball. We shared the ball a hundred per cent better tonight than we did in the other game. James Johnson has five assists, his line is extremely impressive for the minutes he played. Five (rebounds), five (assists), three blocked shots and six points, I mean, that is a great line. He played well. Andrea is the end of the rotation, when we swing, swing, swing he’s going to get good looks."
- Jay Triano, on the performance of Andrea Bargnani
Sun., Mar. 20 @ Thunder
7:00 PM, TSN, FAN590
The Raptors embark on their longest remaining road trip of the season -- a five-gamer beginning in one of the league's loudest buildings and against one of its hottest teams. The Thunder have won five straight and eight of 10 as of Friday, but the Raptors did beat them 111-99 at ACC back on Dec.
|26||Assists on 38 made field goals for the Raptors|
|3||Consecutive wins for the Raptors over the Wizards at ACC|
|4-10||3-pt shooting in the 4th quarter for the Raptors|
|3||Raptors who have hit 500 career 3-pointers (Bargnani, Morris Peterson, Vince Carter)|
|33-41||Free throw shooting for the Raptors|
|"Oh yeah, definitely. I shot the ball well. I didn’t force anything, I let everything come to me today and it felt good."|
- DeMar DeRozan on his 30-point night
|"We cut it to two and had chances. What you hope is some of your veterans would come in and play with the same sense of urgency at times."|
- Wizards head coach Flip Saunders on the play of his rookies
|"Well I think it’s really important. We are thinking about going into this long road trip with really tough teams to play so it’s better always going with a win."|
- Jose Calderon, on the win