Raptors forced to fight for overtime win
WASHINGTON — A game that seemed sewed up in the 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 3½ quarters before Bradley Beal, the lone Wizards player showing much of any pushback, got red-hot and brought his club all the way back to force overtime.
It took two extra frames before Toronto finally got a lead they could hang onto, with Serge Ibaka draining a three-pointer with 15.2 seconds remaining that the Raptors made stand up in a 140-138 win.
“We are lucky to get out of here (with a win),” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse admitted. “I’m not going to stand here and say it was any ... I mean we fought hard at the end. We made a big shot at the very end and we get lucky to get out of here.”
The game certainly took it’s toll in the health department, although every member of the Raptors who had to leave the game eventually made their way back.
“That was a rugged. I’m not sure it was super physical game, but it was a collision game,” Nurse said. “There were a lot of collisions. Both teams playing really hard, lot of open floor play and lot of spacing and a lot 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.”
Firs Kawhi Leonard had to leave midway through the third quarter with some tightness behind his knee that needed stretching out.
Then with Leonard still out, Norm Powell took a Jeff Green elbow in the head and stayed down hoping the officials would take a second look at it. They didn’t and no foul was called.
Danny Green was on the receiving of a Tomas Satoransky tackle late in the second overtime. With Green down Satoransky dove at him to foul him and stop the clock. Green got up and made one of two free throws, giving the Wizards one more crack at it with 2.7 seconds left.
This time it was Kyle Lowry stepping in front of Bradley Beal as the Wizards threw the deep ball to the hottest player on the floor in a last gasp effort. Lowry broke up the play but paid the price as he went down hard as the final horn sounded.
“I don’t know what happened, but I know that I broke up the pass,” he said. “That’s all that really matters.”
Leonard shook off his leg tightness to put up a team high 41 points, but it was the 11 rebounds he pulled down, particularly the ones late in the game, that caught Lowry’s attention.
“Just some unbelievable rebounding, strongman stuff,” Lowry said.
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 before Beal hit one of his six three-pointers to force overtime.
Beal wound up scoring 43 in the game, pulled down 10 rebounds and added 15 assists, but needed to play 55 of the 58 minutes to do so.
The 17 points by Delon Wright were a season high for the Raptors point guard and a continuation of some fine play over the last week and a half or so ... Pascal Siakam’s 19 rebounds Sunday were a career high, breaking his mark of 15 set in Philadelphia this season ... Rather than head home the Raptors went straight to Boston Sunday night. After a day off they will to practise Tuesday in advance of Wednesday’s game against the Celtics.
Wizards guard Bradley Beal, top, battles for the ball against Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry during the second half of their NBA game in Washington on Sunday. Beal had a huge game in bringing the Wizards back from a big deficit, but the magic wore out in the second overtime and the Raptors won 140-138.