Beal’s late magic forces Raps to win hard way
After blowing big lead, Toronto needed double-overtime to finally beat Wizards
A game that seemed sewn up in the very early stages turned out to be anything but for the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
With the Washington Wizards on their way to London for the NBA’S annual England excursion Sunday night (the game will be played Thursday), the team came out looking like they were already mentally on their way overseas while the Raptors appeared locked in.
The game remained that way for most of 31/2 quarters before Bradley Beal, the lone Wizards player showing much of any pushback, got red-hot and brought his club all the way back, forcing the game into overtime. Beal, who finished with a gamehigh 43 points, spearheaded a fourth-quarter comeback which saw the Raptors outscored 40-26.
It took two extra frames before Toronto finally got a lead they could hang onto with Serge
Ibaka draining a three with 15.2 seconds remaining in the second overtime period that the Raptors
made stand up in a 140-138 win.
“We’re lucky to get out of here (with a win),” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. “I mean, we fought hard at the end. We made a big shot at the very end and we got lucky to get out of here.”
The game certainly took its toll in the health department, although every member of the Raptors who had to leave the game eventually made their way back.
“That was rugged. I’m not sure it was super physical game, but it was a collision game,” Nurse said. “Both teams playing really hard, lots of open floor play and lots of spacing and lots of transition so there were a lot of collisions out there. Luckily for us, this is just the third time all year we get two days before we play again and we’re going to need them.”
The injury parade for the Raptors began when Kawhi Leonard had to leave the game midway through the third quarter with some tightness behind his knee that needed stretching out.
With Leonard still out, Norm Powell had his bell rung when he took a Jeff Green elbow in the head and stayed down, hoping the officials would take a second look at the play. They didn’t and no foul was called.
Leonard shook off his leg tightness to put up a team-high 41 points but it was the rebounds — he finished with 11 — he pulled down, particularly late in the game that caught the attention of teammate Kyle Lowry.
“Just some unbelievable rebounding, strongman stuff,” Lowry said of Leonard’s work on the boards. “He did some strongman stuff.”
Toronto had a 23-point lead just a little less than four minutes into the second quarter. Washington whittled that lead down to three with 11.5 seconds left in the game, then Beal hit one of his six three pointers in the game to force the first overtime.
Beal pulled down 10 rebounds and added 15 assists to go along with his point total but needed to play 55 of the 58 minutes in the game to do so. Otto Porter Jr. added 27 points for the Wizards.
Suffice to say, Beal figured to spend a good portion — if not all — of the team’s flight to London resting up.