Rap­tors need dou­ble over­time to es­cape Wash­ing­ton with a win

Toronto Star - - SPORTS - DOUG SMITH

Wizards guard Bradley Beal bat­tles the Rap­tors’ Kyle Lowry for the ball dur­ing Sun­day’s dou­ble-over­time thriller in Wash­ing­ton. The Rap­tors won their fifth straight game, but only after let­ting a 23-point lead slip away.

It has been a wild week for Toronto Rap­tors for­ward Serge Ibaka.

The vet­eran big man won a game at home with an em­phatic dunk in the dy­ing sec­onds of the fourth quar­ter on Tues­day night against At­lanta, then pro­vided a game-win­ning three-pointer at the end of dou­ble over­time in Wash­ing­ton on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

In a wild game that saw Toronto blow a 23-point lead and miss chances to win at the end of the fourth quar­ter and the first over­time, Ibaka calmly faked a Wizards de­fender and drilled an open three with 15.2 sec­onds that lifted the Rap­tors to their fifth straight win.

The Rap­tors al­most blew the game with some shoddy of­fen­sive play in the sec­ond half, and the 21 turnovers they com­mit­ted were a tes­ti­mony to their un­even play all af­ter­noon.

But 41 points from Kawhi Leonard — in­clud­ing 11 in row bridg­ing the end of the fourth quar­ter and the en­tire first over­time pe­riod — and 24 from Pas­cal Si­akam were enough to sub­due the Wizards at the Cap­i­tal One Arena.

Leonard has now scored 20 or more points in 19 straight games, the long­est cur­rent streak in the league.

The Rap­tors led by 23 points in the first half, but gave up 40 Wizards points in the fourth quar­ter. Toronto could have won at the end of reg­u­la­tion time but Leonard missed a short jumper. They had an­other op­por­tu­nity at the end of the first over­time but Kyle Lowry’s three-point at­tempt was well off.

Lowry fin­ished with 12 points and 11 as­sists.

Heavy load: Leonard played 45 min­utes, the most he has played in a game since Jan­uary, 2017. He, Lowry (50 min­utes), Danny Green (42) and Serge Ibaka (41) played the en­tire two over­time pe­ri­ods. The only sub­sti­tu­tion was OG Anunoby for Si­akam, after Si­akam fouled out. Con­trol­ling the boards: Si­akam’s sea­son has been a rev­e­la­tion, and he has set per­sonal bests for sin­gle-game scor­ing five times al­ready. He es­tab­lished a new per­sonal stan­dard for re­bounds Sun­day when he grabbed 19 boards, 16 in reg­u­la­tion time. Leonard added 11 boards as Toronto out­re­bounded Wash­ing­ton 58-52.

Walled off: The Wizards fell to 7-5 since los­ing John Wall for the sea­son (heel surgery), and they failed to win their third straight home game after vic­to­ries over Mil­wau­kee and Philadel­phia.

Beal ap­peal: Bradley Beal has taken over as Wash­ing­ton’s pri­mary of­fen­sive force in the ab­sence of Wall, av­er­ag­ing al­most 29 points a game in Jan­uary be­fore Sun­day, and he al­most brought the Wizards back.

The 25-year-old guard started the day 1-for-9 from the field be­fore warm­ing up, fin­ish­ing with 43 points on 36 field-goal at­tempts. He scored 14 of his points in the fi­nal 51⁄ 2 min­utes of the fourth quar­ter as Wash­ing­ton forced over­time.

Up next: Two days off — one to rest, one to practise — and a date in Bos­ton with the Celtics on Wed­nes­day.

NICK WASS THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

ROB CARR GETTY IMAGES

The Wizards’ Bradley Beal hit a three-pointer to force over­time, part of his game-high 43 points on Sun­day.

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