Rap­tors forced to fight for over­time win

The London Free Press - - SPORTS - MIKE GANTER

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.

Quick hits

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.

THE XXX PRESS

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.

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