Washington Wizards v Toronto Raptors
TORONTO, CANADA - JANUARY 17: Troy Brown Jr. #6 of the Washington Wizards shoots the ball against the Toronto Raptors on January 17, 2020 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

Wizards struggle in Toronto, lose 140-111

The Wizards (13-28) lost 140-111 to the defending-champion Raptors (27-14) Friday night in Toronto despite 22 points and eight rebounds off the bench from Troy Brown Jr. While Washington didn’t shoot particularly poorly – 44.9% from the field and 42.9% from three – the team struggled to take care of the ball, turning it over 28 times.

“That’s a physical ball team,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks. “That’s a team that has a lot of length, a lot of strength, and they got into us. We started the game off with turnovers and a lot of them were uncharacteristic ones, but some of them were because they are a good defensive team. They’re an experienced team, they are long, they are tough and they were clicking. We played a championship team tonight that was clicking on all cylinders and when that happens everything seems to fall.”

The Wizards offense struggled from the jump, committing three turnovers in the game’s first two minutes, and fell behind by nine after just four minutes. Isaac Bonga scored the first two of his career-high 17 points midway through the first to snap a 9-0 Raptors run. Brown Jr. scored seven points in the first, including a buzzer-beating three to end the quarter and cut the deficit to 12.

In addition to his career-best scoring that included makes on both of his 3-point attempts, Bonga did some of his best work on the defensive end, grabbing 10 rebounds and holding Pascal Siakam, Toronto’s leading scorer (24.6 points per game) to just 12 points on 3-9 (.333) from the field.

Just over a minute into the second quarter, Jordan McRae turned his left ankle when he stepped on the foot of Toronto’s Terence Davis and did not return to the game. McRae entered Friday’ game averaging 20.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists in his last three games.

After a Brown Jr. floater opened the second quarter and brought the Wizards within 10, Toronto went on a 14-0 run led by seven points from Norman Powell, to open the lead up to 52-28. Washington’s offense found its legs late in the second quarter, and thanks to threes on consecutive possessions in the final minute of the half, the team entered the halftime break down just 14.

Trailing by 17 early in the third, the Wizards made their strongest push of the night on an unusual sequence. Just over three minutes into the quarter, Bradley Beal converted on a 3-pointer on which he was fouled by Raptors forward Serge Ibaka, who was issued a flagrant foul. Beal converted on the free throw – and on the ensuing Wizards possession given as a result of the flagrant, Ibaka again committed a foul, this time on Ian Mahinmi. Mahnimi hit one of his two free throws and, after a defensive stop, Isaiah Thomas hit a three and Washington cut the lead to 77-68.

The Raptors quickly reclaimed their double-digit lead and didn’t look back. Davis owned the fourth quarter for the Raptors, scoring 17 of his 23 points to rebuild and help maintain Toronto’s lead down the stretch.

“They made us work,” Beal said. “They made us scramble. They did a good job of putting good lineups out there. (They have) numerous guys who can shoot and numerous guys they can put on the floor. So you know, they just did a good job scheme wise.”

On Monday, the Wizards return to Capital One Arena for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matchup against the Detroit Pistons (15-27) at 2:00 P.M. Washington leads the season series 2-1 and Monday’s game will be the team’s final meeting of the season.

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