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Wizards, Beal lock down Raptors, 107-96
Beal's 38 points and defensive effort anchored Wizards to the win
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Even without their four-time All-Star point guard John Wall, the Wizards came into Toronto, scored first, and never gave up the lead. Washington went on to win 107-96, with star shooting guard Bradley Beal scoring 38 points, bringing his average in his last three games to exactly 38 points per game. Tim Frazier got the start for Wall and filled in with eight assists in 31-plus minutes, while Otto Porter Jr. and Marcin Gortat anchored the Wizards on both ends. It was a huge win for a team that had lost four of five games, and the Wizards now head home for four straight games against teams with losing records in the Mavericks, Lakers, Hawks, and Kings.
"We knew that we were going to have to play a good basketball game to beat them without John [Wall] and I thought our guys responded," head coach Scott Brooks said postgame.
Washington jumped out to an 11-2 lead to start, and played stellar defense in the first quarter. Beal and Porter combined for 17 points and only missed two shots in the opening 12 minutes, while the Raptors only made 5-of-19 field goals and struggled outside of the paint to get anything going. Defensively, Porter especially locked down DeMar DeRozan, who would go 8-for-21 from the field in the game and struggle in the opening period. Frazier was in early foul trouble, which gave Tomas Satoransky an opportunity to run with the starters. The Wizards would be +10 with Satoransky on the court in his near nine minutes. The Wizards had eight second chance points and nine fast break points and took a 32-17 lead into the second quarter.
Beal really got it going in the second quarter, scoring 13 of his 38 points and making 6-of-7 shots. The Raptors started to heat up after their cool first quarter, but the Wizards still outscored them. Markieff Morris, who started his second game of the season and played almost 18 minutes, was getting to the free throw line at will. However, foul trouble would keep both Morris and Kelly Oubre Jr. off the court more than they would have liked. A signature moment of the game happened with 8:08 remaining when Raptors All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry was ejected for arguing with the officials. Washington would open up a 19-point lead at one point in the second, and led by 16 at the half after Oubre knocked down a deep triple as time expired.
The Raptors opened up the third quarter with a 10-2 run, bringing the game within seven points. Toronto dominated the paint in the quarter, outscoring the Wizards 18-6 and making 9-of-10 shots. Fred VanVleet was making everything and the Raptors bench did not miss in the third. Still, Beal kept the Wizards ahead and hit a huge 3-pointer after Porter hit one of his own to grow the team's lead from seven to 13 in a little over a minute. The Raptors fought back and kept the game within single digits heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Raptors were within four points with 10:34 to go after going on a 10-0 run stemming from the end of the third. Beal and Frazier checked back in with 10:17 to go, as the Wizards needed to get some offense going. Ian Mahinmi had a huge sequence in which he tipped in a missed shot and then blocked a VanVleet layup, giving the Wizards a spark on both ends. Gortat, who had another double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds, checked in with 7:24 to go in the game. He gave the Wizards a huge boost with his screens and drew some key fouls, while Beal did the scoring. After Gortat came back in, the Wizards went on a 15-3 run to essentially win the game. Oubre hit a dagger 3-pointer off a Frazier steal and Beal extra pass with 4:30 remaining, and the Wizards never looked back.
Beal was the story of the game, proving once again why he's one of the top scoring guards in the league. Sunday's 38-point game marked the first time in his career that Beal has scored 30 or more points in three straight games. Few have it going like Beal right now, who would finish with a final line of 38 points (16-26 FG, 4-6 3PT), five rebounds, and four assists.
"It [his scoring]’s not a fluke; he’s one of the best guards in the league," Brooks said. "He scores in so many places on the floor so it’s hard to double-team him and we move him around in our offense so they don’t get a daily dose of the same thing. Our bigs set great screens for him and his outside shot is flawless and he makes plays for others. When they trap, like Toronto was doing, he was doing a great job in making sure he was finding the open big in the center of the court."
"The biggest thing was that I knew that they would be keying in on me one way or another, so as best as I could I had to get some shots, be as aggressive as possible, continue to create for my teammates and get shots for everybody," Beal said after the game.
With Wall sidelined with a shoulder sprain, Beal, Porter, Morris, and Gortat took care of business, while Frazier and Satoransky stepped up to deliver the win in Toronto.
"We did tonight," Brooks said. "A big road win in a tough building, this place is hard to play and they’re a good team, they play tough, they are physical, they have impact players."
Next up, the Wizards host the Mavericks for the first of four in a row at Capital One Arena on Tuesday at 7:00pm.