Where to begin? In what was an absolute instant classic in Toronto, the Wizards outlasted the Raptors to pull out a 134-129 victory in triple overtime. The game marked just the second time in franchise history that the organization has gone to triple-OT, with the first time occurring in 1975. The Wizards won for the fifth straight time to go two games over .500 for the first time this year and also avoided being swept by the Raptors. It was simply a tremendous basketball game from start to finish, a playoff type game which was very physical, had a slew of lead changes and star performances on both sides. If these two teams somehow were to meet in the playoffs, we would have some series on our hands.
It feels like a couple of days ago now, but the drama really began at the end of regulation. And that's saying something considering how good of a ballgame it was up until that point. But of course it got better. With five seconds to go in regulation, Marcin Gortat cleaned up Bradley Beal's miss to tie the game and force OT. The first OT saw the Wizards trailing again, and this time it was a John Wall drive with 23 seconds to go which tied the game. Wall then kept the game going with an emphatic swat of Lowry to send the game to a second OT. In the second extra session, it was the Raptors tied it late on a Derozan layup with 2.7 seconds to play. On the ensuing possession, Beal looked to have won it with a runner in the lane, but he released it a fraction of a second late and we headed to the third OT. With the Raptors up three and two minutes to go, the Wizards went on a 7-0 run thanks to a couple of timely John Wall steals and the subsequent fast break buckets. The Wizards went up four and would close it out from there, with the Raptors never tying it up again.
In the end, five players fouled out, and five played at least 50 minutes. It featured 19 ties and 15 lead changes. Despite all the extra basketball that was played, there were still only 31 turnovers (14 by the Wizards) between the two teams, a testament to the quality of the game. The Wizards shot the ball a little better, 47% to 45%, but the Raptors were more effective from beyond the arc, hitting 12/30 compared to 5/22 for Washington.
While there were a lot of guys who did a lot of things for Washington, John Wall and Marcin Gortat really stood out. Late in the game the default became to either dump it down low to Gortat and let him go to work or have Wall drive. Gortat set a new career-high with 31 points, and also got his sixth straight double-double, adding 12 boards. He becomes the first Wizard to get six straight double-doubles since Antawn Jamison. Ariza (16 points and 10 boards) and Beal (11 points and 10 boards) also had double-doubles with Wall and Chris Singleton each just missing by an assist and a rebound respectively. Wall also had 31 points on the night to go along with nine assists.
For the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan led all players with 34 points and 57 minutes played. To put that in context, he sat just six minutes. Greivis Vasquez came off the bench to score 26 points and Kyle Lowry just missed a triple-double with 18 points, 10 assists and nine boards. - Jacob Raim
Hello from Toronto!
We've been in the city about 24 hours now and I think about 23 hours and 59 minutes have been spent indoors. It's about 10 degrees outside and windy, a combination that nearly froze Casey Phillips while hailing a cab to the arena. But thankfully she made it and we are set to go for #WizRaptors.
She talked with Al Harrington this morning about getting back in the rotation and the big role he'll have to play now with Nene and Kevin Seraphin sidelined:
What was expected after he missed shootaround this morning became official about 30 minutes ago as Kevin Seraphin will be held out for the second straight game tonight with a sore knee. Randy Wittman said he's still day-to-day, so it's something we'll monitor over the next couple of days.
With KS out again and Nene sidelined for at least another month, the Wiz will need guys like Harrington and the newly signed Drew Gooden to step in and play a big role in that second unit. With Trevor Booker back in the starting lineup, look for Harrington and Gooden to both log minutes tonight off the bench.
The Wiz have won a season-high four games in a row entering tonight, but have lost all three prior matchups with these Raptors, including both at Verizon Center. They'll look to salvage a game from Toronto and avoid a series sweep against a team they could potentially face in the first round of the playoffs in April.
The Raptors have won six of their last seven entering tonight and hold the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference. They have a nice blend of backcourt scorers, low post bruisers, and some nice rotation players. They've been playing fundamentally sound basketball for quite a while now and have given the Wizards fits in their previous meetings.
Wittman on Toronto
The action kicks off at 7pm from Toronto, we'll be live chatting throughout the night on WashingtonWizards.com.