Washington racked up a season-high 32 assists and took a one game lead over the Raptors in the East standings with a 105-96 win in Toronto on Wednesday. Bojan Bogdanovic led the way with 27 points off the bench, and John Wall added 12 points and 13 assists as the Wizards picked up their first regular season win in Canada since the 2013-14 season.
The Wizards used stellar ball movement to jump out to an early lead, but it was short lived. Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas responded by controlling the glass, giving the Raptors extra chances to help them claw their way back into the game and take a 26-24 lead at the end of the first quarter.
From there, it looked like Toronto might be able to race out to a big lead. The Raptors have one of the best benches in the league, and the Wizards have one of the worst. But a funny thing happened: Washington trotted out an all-bench lineup of Tomas Satoransky, Kelly Oubre, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jason Smith, and Ian Mahinmi that made their first nine shots and ripped off a 26-1 run to open the quarter.
I repeat: A 26-1 run by the Wizards with an all-bench lineup. On the road. Against a very good team.
Bogdanovic and Smith combined for 24 points on 10 shots in the quarter. On the other end, Ian Mahinmi and Kelly Oubre thwarted Toronto by forcing turnovers and providing great rim protection.
When it was all said and done, the Wizards had a 16 point lead going into halftime. The bench scored as many points (31) as the starters (31) in the first half.
Washington went up by as much as 24 in the third quarter, but the Raptors started to edge their way back into the game in the fourth quarter. Toronto had momentum on their side, and it looked like the crowd was going to erupt on an emphatic Serge Ibaka dunk, but John Wall had other plans as he rejected his shot at the rim:
My God, @JohnWall. pic.twitter.com/ar0wirlUxn— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) March 2, 2017
Even though Toronto would go on to make a run in garbage time to cut the lead down to single-digits, Wall’s block effectively ended the game as the Wizards picked up an important road win a night after taking down the Warriors at home.
Washington’s win sets up a crucial game in Washington on Friday night against this same Raptors team. The winner of Friday’s game will earn the head-to-head tiebreaker which will determine seeding if both teams finish with the same record
Ian Mahinmi shows his worth
Mahinmi has looked better and better with each game since returning from injury and put together a performance that showed all the reasons why the Wizards invested $64 million in him last summer. He only scored one point, but he had five rebounds, three assists, and three blocks, including this emphatic one during the Wizards’ big run:
Mahinmi ✋✋#WizRaptors on @CSNMA pic.twitter.com/xKYArWCDX8— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) March 2, 2017
The Wizards were a +17 in the 21 minutes Mahinmi was on the floor.
You know the scene in Captain America: Civil War where War Machine got in front of Vision’s blast? Marcin Gortat gets it:
Keep your head on a swivel, Marcin! #WizRaptors pic.twitter.com/qMPG587Jd2— CSN Wizards (@CSNWizards) March 2, 2017