Wizards fall to Raptors in Toronto, 129-120

Coming off a loss on Monday night to the Detroit Pistons, the Wizards fell in Toronto, 129-120 to a tough Raptors team.

Despite the final score, the Wizards held a firm lead at one point during the game. It was a slow start for the Wizards out of the starting blocks, however, as the team failed to score a field goal until the 8:30 mark. The Wizards managed to keep pace throughout the first quarter and entered the second frame down 30-26. The Wizards grabbed the lead in the second quarter, and a Trevor Ariza 3-point buzzer-beater put them up 65-59 at halftime.

The second half proved to be an entirely different game for the Wizards. The Wizards held an 80-68 lead 8:48 left in the quarter, before the Raptors erupted for a 13-0 run. While the Wizards continued to battle, the momentum shifted toward the Raptors' side, and they closed out the third quarter up 103-93.

The Wizards fought back from the deficit and cut the Toronto lead to 112-111 with just under five minutes left after Bobby Portis drained a 3-point shot. The Raptors immediately responded on the other end, as All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry connected on a triple of his own. The Raptors effectively closed the door on any comeback attempt when Danny Green knocked down a triple with 1:45 remaining in regulation, which extended the Toronto lead to 124-114.

Bradley Beal noted mental mistakes and the change in momentum were two major catalysts in Toronto's second-half outburst.

"Breakdowns and not getting back into transition, I think," Beal said postgame. "They got a lot of easy ones, the transition threes, layups on all off our misses, bad shots that we were taking; the third quarter is where we lost the game for sure. Them getting out and just pushing and getting easy shots, I think that got them back into the game really quick. Once they saw a couple go in, their confidence just went through the roof."

The Raptors shot more efficiently from the field, as their 47 % clip trumped the Wizards' 44 %. Additionally, the Raptors boasted a stronger night shooting from beyond the arc (42.1 % compared to Washington's 35 %). The Wizards were unable to capitalize on 14 Toronto turnovers, which could have helped them claw back ahead late in the game.

As has been standard this season, the Wizards were led in scoring by their All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal. Beal turned in 28 points to go along with 11 rebounds and six assists. Jeff Green added 23 points and seven rebounds, while Jabari Parker contributed 22 points and nine rebounds.

Following the game, Beal noted what the addition of Parker has brought to the team.

"He’s super-athletic. He’s versatile, he can put the ball on the floor, and he can shoot it," Beal said. "He needs his legs back under him a little more but that will come. I love his energy, he, Bobby and Wes, they’ve all been energetic. It’s difficult to learn a new system on the fly, so you tip their hat to them with what they have been able to do so far."

With no Kawhi Leonard in the lineup (sore knee), Pascal Siakam enjoyed a sensational night. Siakam went off for a career-high 44 points (15-25 from the field), along with 10 rebounds. Fellow youngster OG Anunoby finished with 22 points and five rebounds. Siakam, Anunoby, and Kyle Lowry all knocked down four 3-pointers.

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks certainly took note of Siakam's signature performance.

"Good player. He’s really developed. Give him a lot of credit, give the staff a lot of credit, he’s come back better every year," Brooks said postgame.

"He’s right there. If he keeps playing like this he’s a 2020 All-Star, the way he’s played. We tried a few different things but his ability to create in the open floor and his ability to spin off of players and finish around the basket is pretty good, and he’s really worked on his three-point shot."

Following the loss in Toronto, the Wizards get a bit of a break with All-Star weekend on the horizon. Bradley Beal will be the lone member of the team participating in the weekend's scheduled activities, as he will be appearing as a member of Team LeBron in the NBA All-Star Game. Tip-off is set for 8:00 P.M. from Charlotte, N.C.

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