WASHINGTON -- Last time the Raptors came to town, they played hard, they played physical, and they left a surging Wizards squad completely flustered.
This time around, with a chance for a seventh straight home win on the line, Washington wasn't going to be tripped up by the same formula.
Powered by the return of Bradley Beal, a double-double from John Wall and just enough offense from everyone else, the Wizards took down the Raptors, 109-92, to extend their winning streak at Verizon Center on Sunday evening.
At seven games, the home win streak is the longest for Washington since the 2006-07 season.
In the past, defenses like this gave Wall fits. Athletic, physical and aggressive, they forced Wall to make tough decisions away from the basket, something he once struggled with despite his otherworldly talents.
Not so on Sunday evening. We'll call this one the latest example of Wall's evolution into a legitimate leading man.
After missing 11 of his 12 shots attempts in addition to committing seven turnovers against Toronto in a 96-88 loss Feb. 21, Wall once again showed that he's more in control these days. Though the final stats aren't totally eye-popping (18 points, 10 assists, six rebounds), his command of the offense was noticeable.
Even as the Raptors tried to mix things up defensively, at one point switching to a zone, Wall never pulled his hands from the wheel. Toronto cut the lead to six early in the fourth quarter with A.J. Price playing the point, but Wall's return hastened a 10-2 run to put the game away.
After shooting just 39 percent in the team's loss to Toronto last month, Washington hit 48 percent of its shots Sunday.
Beal was similarly big for Washington, looking incredibly healthy for someone that was considered a game-time decision right up to tip off. Finishing with 24 points on 8 of 14 shooting, including six three-pointers, Beal certainly didn't appear to be limited by his sore ankle in any way.
For a team that's often played to the level of its competition, upending NBA royalty from Miami to OKC while stumbling against teams like Charlotte and Orlando, the Wizards came out with a much more solid effort Sunday night.
Even when it seemed like Toronto would make a legitimate run midway through the fourth quarter, Wall and company responded like a team still battling for playoff seeding.
Before the game, coach Randy Wittman mentioned that these late-season games can be useful for evaluating the talent already on hand. Given what he saw Sunday, one has to imagine he's pretty pleased right now.