The Washington Wizards came to Toronto and escaped with a thrilling 134-129 endurance contest win over the Raptors on Thursday night led by 31 points from John Wall and a career-high 31 points from Marcin Gortat. The Raptors had their chance to win on the last shot at the end of regulation and in the dying seconds of the first overtime, but couldn’t close the deal and after DeMar DeRozan tied the game to send it to a third overtime, the Raptors just ran out of gas and were running out of starters. DeRozan played 57.4 minutes and scored a game-high 34 points. Greivis Vasquez missed his career high by one, scoring 26 points.
“My feet and back are hurting and I didn’t even play,” said Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman. “It’s hard to put this game into words, there were so many changes of emotion, ups and downs. They seemed to have control and then we seemed to have control. We kept after it and we were lucky enough, we got the three stops in a row down the stretch and converted at the other end and gave us a boost. I don’t know the last time we saw 108 shots for us in a game – they had 100 – and 80 points in the paint and I would think that has to be a record for us somewhere. Our guys gutted it out. It was a gusty win for us. Both teams played good. It’s just one of those games you hate to see one of them lose.”
The Wizards scored a season high 134 points and gave up a season-high 129 points as did the Raptors in a game that neither team was able to control for very long. The Wizards came into this contest without Nene or Kevin Seraphin and the Raptors lost Terrence Ross and almost lost Kyle Lowry during the game.
“(Lowry) stayed in the game, but he turned his ankle real bad,” Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey said. “Also, Terrence (Ross), both guys, so we’ll have to see for Sunday what they are going to do. Next man up, someone is going to have to step up and be ready to play. We have to get Nando (de Colo) ready. Greivis did a heck of a job coming in and covering for Kyle. He took the ball and the ball handling duties away from (Lowry), letting him rest on the weak side. I thought Kyle still battled on defense and I thought that was huge for us.
“We’ve rode (Lowry) and DeMar so hard, but every game is important. Every game, every possession and it’s hard to take them out. Even T-Ross, I never thought I’d say this, but we missed him. Our deck wasn’t full and I thought it hurt us.”
As the game was extended, the teams also began losing players to foul trouble. The Raptors lost both Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson in the first overtime with 6 fouls. In the third overtime, Lowry fouled out as did Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat. This game simply had to end.
“I like the way we battled,” Casey said. “Even through the foul trouble and with injuries.”
“We fought hard all game, triple overtime and we just came up short,” Johnson said. “A couple of guys fouled out, the guys that came in played hard and like I said, we just came up short.”
“It was a pretty good game,” Lowry said. “I had fun. I’m sure they had fun and I wish we would have won. It’s a great game to be a part of.”
About his ankle, Lowry said, “Just a little tweak, that’s all.”
It was just as much an endurance contest for the Wizards.
“Its mind over matter in that situation,” Martell Webster said. “Everybody has nothing left in the tank. It just comes down to having the will and having more of a physical mindset. This is a physical team, especially at home they play hard here and we needed to exceed that.”
“I think tonight we just kept fighting,” Trevor Ariza said. “We didn’t give in to fatigue, we didn’t give into anything. We just kept playing and fortunately we got the win. This is good place to play. Their fans are really into the games here. They’re a good team and they took us all the way to the wire tonight.”
Gortat had a dozen rebounds and 4 blocks to go with his 31 points and Wall added 9 assists. Double –doubles also went to Ariza with 16 points and 10 boards and Bradley Beal with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Lowry just missed the triple-double with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists. Johnson had 16 points and 9 boards.
The Wizards play in Philadelphia on Saturday.
The Raptors face the Warriors on Sunday.
The Raptors finish February with a record of 32-26 and went 7-5 for the month, the team’s third winning month in a row.
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Can Ross and DeRozan Become The Raptors McGrady and Carter?
The Toronto Raptors had a dream in the early days of this franchise. A dream that two young up and coming star wing players, Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady, would elevate this expansion franchise into relevance and dominance as a legitimate NBA contender for many years to come. Then the dream became a myth that the team has been looking to recreate ever since and maybe, just maybe they have in DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross.