Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images
Wizards battle back, fall to Raptors in D.C.
There’s no reason for the Wizards to be pushing the panic button after just two games, but there’s also no question they wanted more in a pair of home games before heading on a long West Coast road trip. Still without offseason acquisition Dwight Howard (back), Washington struggled to control the paint on their floor Saturday, falling 113-117 to the Raptors at Capital One Arena.
Bradley Beal was one of the Wizards’ bright spots, pouring in 32 points and hitting six 3’s to take sole possession of the all-time franchise record for career 3-pointers.
“I wasn’t aware, but that’s a blessing,” said Beal. “That’s amazing and I’m honored. I won’t say that was a goal of mine, that’s a pretty cool accomplishment to have and one that I’m proud of. I wish it was a win on top of this, but I’m proud.”
John Wall added 25 points and six assists, but Washington faltered down the stretch and couldn’t complete a late comeback after whittling down a 13-point deficit to just two with around a minute left.
After the Wizards fell down 13 with seven minutes remaining in the game, the team found energy after head coach Scott Brooks was ejected for arguing with officials. A 13-3 Washington run followed in the next five minutes, highlighted by a barrage of 3-pointers, two of which came from Beal. In response, Kyle Lowry and Fred Van Vleet hit a pair of big shots in the final minute to hold off a motivated Wizards team.
On the night, six Raptors reached double figures, led by Kyle Lowry’s 28 points and 12 assists. Serge Ibaka added 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while Van Vleet scored 13 for the second unit.
Washington certainly scored enough points to win, but ended up giving Toronto too many easy chances throughout the game. The Raptors outrebounded the Wizards, 52-37, and scored 17 second chance points. Moreover, Toronto outscored Washington in the paint, 48-38 on the night. The paint was a major factor Saturday, and success in that area is something that figures to improve once Howard returns to the Wizards lineup.
”The last five minutes of the game, there were multiple offensive rebounds that led to threes, said Wall. “And that’s what kinda hurt us.”
At the end of the day, the Wizards still know that they’re just two games into an 82-game marathon. Keeping that perspective as they head out for a 10-day, five-game road trip that starts in Portland on Monday night. That perspective wasn’t lost on Wall as he gave an outlook for the week ahead.
“Just go out there, take it one game at a time and put one win on the board,” Wall said.
Beal echoed his sentiments, adding that he remains optimistic about the road ahead.
“I like where we are and I’ll never give up on our team,” said Beal. “We’re going to figure it out. We’re going on the road and it doesn’t get easier, which I like. It just continues to challenge us and prepare us for down the road.”
Washington will travel west on Sunday to prepare for their next test against the Trail Blazers. Tip-off on Monday is set for 10:30 p.m. ET.