Toronto Raptors v Washington Wizards
WASHINGTON, DC -  OCTOBER 12: Kyle Kuzma #33 of the Washington Wizards shoots a three point basket during a preseason game against the Toronto Raptors on October 12, 2021 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Recap: Wizards fall to Raptors despite 11 threes from Kuzma, KCP




Wizards: Kyle Kuzma (24), Montrezl Harrell (17), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (15)

Raptors: Malachi Flynn (22), Sam Dekker (18), Goran Dragic (16)

The Wizards fell to the Raptors 113-108 on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena. Kyle Kuzma led the way with a game-high 24 points on 8-12 (.667) from the field and 6-8 (.750) from 3-point range. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope nearly matched Kuzma’s shooting performance, going 5-8 (.625) from deep. The Wizards will wrap up their preseason slate on Friday night in New York, taking on the Knicks at 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.

Behind a strong opening-frame performance from Daniel Gafford, who scored six of the team’s first 12 points of the night, the Wizards led by as many 13 in the first quarter before a late Raptors run pulled Toronto within four points heading into the second quarter. Davis Bertans knocked down his first of three 3-pointers early in the second quarter as Washington opened on an 8-2 run to re-take a double-digit lead. After Kyle Kuzma knocked down a pair of threes to put the Wizards up 46-36 with just under six minutes left in the half, the Raptors ripped off a 20-8 run to take a two-point lead in the final two minutes of the second quarter.

In a back-and-forth open to the second half, Kuzma scored seven of the Wizards’ first 11 points, including a tricky turnaround jumper and a 3-pointer that gave Washington a 69-67 lead. Triples from Bradley Beal and Caldwell-Pope on the ensuing possessions fueled a 23-8 run to give Washington a 14-point lead late in the third. Sam Dekker and Malachi Flynn led a Toronto resurgence early in the fourth quarter, overtaking the Washington lead with just under seven minutes to go in the game. The Wizards, leaning mostly on their reserves late in the game, were unable to keep up with the Raptors’ shooting down the stretch.


Wizards find their touch from 3-point range
Coming off a game against the Knicks on Saturday night in which the Wizards shot just 5-31 (.167) from beyond the arc, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. stressed that the team had done the right things to create consistent, quality looks, but simply hadn’t gotten them to fall.

“We’re getting and generating the right types of shots,” Unseld Jr. said pregame. “We just (haven’t been) making them right now. That’s an unfortunate reality, but don’t get discouraged with what we’re doing because we’re doing a lot of good things, we’re just not seeing the results yet.”

Washington saw those results on Tuesday, hitting four of its first five 3-pointers and matched its 3-point output from Saturday night in the first quarter alone. Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope each hit four threes in the first half. As a team, the Wizards shot 10-24 (.417) from deep in that time before cooling off in the second half. Kuzma (6), Caldwell-Pope (5) and Bertans (3) each knocked down at least three triples.

Gafford puts on dominant performance
Daniel Gafford put on his best showing of the preseason so far, totaling 14 points, 17 rebounds and a block – and finished with a plus-15 rating in 27 minutes. Gafford got to work immediately, scoring eight points on 4-4 (1.000) shooting in the first quarter to go along with five rebounds and a block. He was plus-11 in eight minutes of action to open the game. Most of Gafford’s early offensive success came in the pick and roll, catching and finishing off assists from Spencer Dinwiddie and Corey Kispert in the first quarter.

Toronto duo leads late comeback
The Raptors’ comeback in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s matchup came on the backs of Sam Dekker and Malachi Flynn, who combined to score 32 consecutive points between the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth. Flynn finished with a team-high 22 points, 17 of which came in the second half.


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