This was the second match-up between the teams, in D.C., within 48 hours. This game could be quite important for play-in standings since a Wizards win would not only lift them a game above the Raptors but would also give them the tie-break (the teams only meet three times this year).
The starting line-ups were:
In other words, the Wizards had their self-declared “Big 3” in action, while the Raptors had theirs (FVV, OG, Siakam).
On the other hand, it seems that some of the Raptors players have at least partially checked-out as they are either on expiring contracts and/or were recently put on the shelf around the trade deadline.
The Wizards benefited from a pretty terrible shooting night by the Raptors on Thursday night. Tonight, it looked like both teams were shooting well. Halftime saw the teams going all tied up 53-53 to the locker-rooms. The Raptors were 5-for-12 from deep while the Wizards 4-for-8, in the first half. Kuzma started off with an untypically low number of FGA, just 6 in the first half. Overall, the Wizards were sloppy with the ball, turning the ball over 13 times compared to just 7 from the Raptors.
In the third quarter the Raptors showed some urgency, and beat the Wizards 33-26 to take on an 86-79 lead going into the final period. Avdija that only saw the court for 7 minutes in the first half due to gastroenteritis, didn’t return. The Wizards as a whole continued to shoot very well from deep, 10-from-17 in three quarters (to the Raptors 9-for-22). The Wizards also got to the stripe 6 more times and shot better from there. The reason that the Wizards were trailing was mainly the turnovers, which seemed to not stop, where the Wizards `led’ 19 to 8. This can be attributed to the Raptors over-arching philosophy of playing 6’9”-ish players with long hands in all positions that can disrupt ball movement and force turnovers at the price of being undersized under the rim.
The Wizards kept shooting well and cutting into the lead, and down by 3 with about 30 seconds left, Delon Wright drilled a wide open three from a Beal assist to tie the game at 105 and send the teams to OT.
The Raptors tightened their defense in OT, allowing the Wizards just one field goal and exactly 2 point in the first 4 minutes. Fred Van Vleet hit a clutch three, to give the Raptors a 3 point lead 110-107 and that was the score with 1 minute remaining in OT.
Nick Nurse took an unsuccessful coach’s challenge at that point after a foul by Siakam on Kuzma, and Kuz drilled both freebies. However, Fred Van Vleet, who was literally on fire tonight (6-for-11 from deep), almost immediately hit another three (from the corner) off of a Siakam pass (clearly a set play), to give the visitors a 113-109 lead. This possession was an utter defensive breakdown, leaving the opponent’s best shooter completely and widely open in the corner in the clutch. Next, OG blocked Wright and KP missed a shot, while Siakam all but sealed the game on the other end with a dunk, 115-109 with 14 seconds left.
The Wizards next face the Bucks tomorrow at home.