Game Rap: Raptors 95 Wizards 93

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

It Was Over When...

DeMar DeRozan hit a jumper over Paul Pierce with 12.9 seconds remaining to give the Toronto Raptors a 36-17 record at the All-Star Break. After Kyle Lowry blocked a John Wall layup attempt, Wall’s three at the buzzer was off the mark. The game was a battle throughout with 14 lead changes and 10 ties. 

The Game Changer

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Lou Williams was fantastic for Toronto, scoring a game-high 27 points off the bench. Williams shot 8-for-16 from the floor, 4-for-8 from beyond the arc and a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line in a bounce back game after being held scoreless in against San Antonio on Sunday night. Williams also added four rebounds, two steals an assist and a blocked shot.

"It's getting used to making great plays and coming in and playing with confidence," said Williams post-game. "I'm very mindful of having zero points last game, so my mindset coming into this was to be aggressive and to try and play a good game."

The Underrated Raptor

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Lowry had a relatively quiet night by his standards, finishing with 13 points on 5-for-12 shooting from the field to go with four rebounds, six assists a steal and a blocked shot. Still, it was Lowry who had the defining play of the game — and of this Raptors team and their first half of the season — when he dove on the floor and skidded across half of it to try and save a loose ball as Wall sprinted beside him. The play, which caused Lowry to spend the beginning of his post-game media scrum applying ointment to his hand, represented everything that Lowry has left on the floor for the Raptors this year and was another reminder of why he will start for the Eastern Conference in this Sunday’s All-Star Game. He does not stop fighting until the final buzzer sounds.

DeRozan, who knows Lowry better than anyone in the Raptors locker room, summed up the play succinctly: “That's him, that's the type of player he is. That's Kyle Lowry.”

That’s A Rap

“It feels good. We were trying to figure out how many games we had won at this point last year and we just couldn't figure it out. It's definitely big just to be at this point. I remember going into the All-Star break with 12 wins, or whatever it may be. Just a credit to the hard work and how far this organization has come.” - DeMar DeRozan on how it feels to have 36 wins at the All-Star Break

By The Numbers

26 - Free throws attempted by the Raptors, who made 22 of their attempts. In comparison, The Wizards made just 10 of their 16 attempts. 

17 - DeRozan and Williams were a combined 17-for-17 from the line.

8 - Rebounds for Patrick Patterson who helped fuel a Raptors run in the second half with his energy on the defensive end. Patterson has come up big for the Raptors as of late and found a way to contribute when his shot (1-for-8 field goals) wasn’t falling.

50-37 - Rebounding differential favouring the Wizards

11-26 - 3-Point shooting (42.3%) for the Raptors

They Said It

“Calculated risk, baby, calculated risk. I'm pretty smart when it comes to that type of stuff.” - Kyle Lowry on his dive across the floor to try to save a loose ball

“We have done a good job of just going into the games and being as consistent as we possible could. We had our one stint where we didn’t playing well and then lost two in a row after we had won six. Our mindset is just play as consistently as we can. I think now the proof is in the pudding that we are pretty solid basketball team. For us to win basketball games we all have to be on the same page. After the break we have to step it up one more notch when everyone comes back fully rested.” - Lou Williams on how the first half of the season has gone 

“No, we’re not done yet. I’ve won 60 games before and won a championship, and I know what it takes. You might not believe it but I do. A lot of false things can mask mistakes. There is another level we can get to on offence and defence, so you can’t get too high or low. There were stretches tonight when you might think we already left for vacation, but what I liked is they kept grinding. We’re not going to out-talent anybody, we’ve got to do it collectively.” - Dwane Casey on not being satisfied with 36 wins at the break because his team wants to do more

Up Next

The Raptors will have a several days to rest their bodies and minds over All-Star Break before meeting up in Atlanta to take on the Hawks in the first game of a four-game road trip. Kyle Lowry will head to New York to prepare for his first All-Star appearance.