Strange things happen in Washington. Nothing strange happened the first time the Raptors and Wizards met there earlier in the season. The Raptors as they were tonight were on the 2nd half of back to back. The Wizards were rested but without a win. That would change on that night as the Wizards would dismantle the Raptors in embarrassing fashion. It appeared we were heading for a replay of that on this night. After scoring the opening basket the Raptors would have 4 straight turnovers leading to 4 Wizards baskets. Turnovers would be a big factor in the first win the Wizards had in Washington. The Raptors would get back into it only to fall flat again and the Wizards enjoyed a 28-18 lead after one. The Raptors were getting torched by John Wall and friends as they were owning the paint. Something on Friday in Toronto they could not do. Things would not improve in the 2nd as the Wizards continued to put the wood to the Raptors at one point leading by 18 points. It was just an awful performance on the defensive end. Perhaps given that circumstances the worst of the season.
It was hard to stay actively involved as a viewer. But the Raptors did threaten to make a comeback. But after small bursts the Raptors would seem to hit a wall at the 10 point mark. A big physiological barrier in basketball. How often do we hear, if they could just get it to single digits they might have a shot at this game. Well the Raptors defence was still not getting it done but they did find a way to score. That way as the game went on would be Jerryd Bayless. He finished the night with 30 points on 9-23 shooting. The Raptors would outscore the Wizards 30-25 in the 3rd and sat stuck on that 10 point barrier that they could seem to break through with the score 82-72 after 3 quarters. Bayless on night may have been a volume shooter but in the 4th he was on the money more than he wasn't. He would be helped by Linas Kleiza who was one of few Raptors who was on point the entire night, going 11-16 on the evening and had 30 points of his own. The two combined for 10 three pointers, a lot of those coming down the stretch of this game in the 4th. The Raptors after a long battle the Raptors had finally climbed all the way back. Their first lead since the early moments of the game was erased in the blink of an eye by John Wall. He had 31 points on the night by the way. But in the end the Raptors would have a chance for another miracle in Washington with game tied at 105. After the refs went to replay they would decide the Raptors would have .9 seconds left to try and get the win. As you watched above the shot made by Morris Peterson did not win the game it only sent game to overtime. In the end the Raptors tried a long lob pass to try and put this game on ice but no dice.
This one would head to overtime and in that overtime is was pretty awful. The Raptors only managed to score 3 points. The Wizards would only manage 6 points but that was enough. The Raptors would have a chance to tie the game with a 3 but thankfully for the viewing audience it did not fall for Jose Calderon. Who ironically got the shot after Rasaul Butler passed him the ball. You can only imagine the horror had he shot it and missed. In the end if there was ever a game in which both teams made a solid case for both deserving a loss this might have been the game. But the Wizards can walk away with a much needed W for them only their 5th on the year with 2 wins over both the Bobcats and the Raptors and a shocking win over OKC. The final was 111-108 and don't expect this game to live on like the game in Washington that Morris Peterson tied and the Raptors eventually won. The Raptors were in a playoff race and that win would actually hurt the Raptors as it turned out. It lead to the Raptors facing the Nets instead of a injury plagued opposition. But at the time it was huge. Tonight's game is far less significant. But this is the type of loss that could stick with a team. Not exactly what the Raptors need on the verge of their longest home stand of the season of 7 games.
The glass half full or half empty debate will rage about this game. Do you give credit to the Raptors for fighting back and getting in this game at all after going down 18? That or do you blame the Raptors for a flat and awful performance to start this game that got them in the spot to begin with. I would say to things on behalf of the glass half empty folks. First this is a team that you should have beat and did beat handily on Friday. Two this is a bad basketball team and as much as the Raptors did earn their way to overtime it was also a big result of their opposition's poor play. Dwane Casey was not pleased after the first half and he had every right not to be. There was no moral victory in the Raptors coming back in this game. The reality is they never should have been in a position to have to come back from that far behind. They dug their grave in the first half. As I stated yesterday, after a great performance from the Raptors in Miami, it would mean nothing, if they did not win the game they should win today. I was called lame for that. But that isn't lame that is the truth and sometimes that hurts. Demar DeRozan wasn't terrible with 15 points going 4-10 from field and 7-8 at the line. But he didn't exactly build on what he did Sunday afternoon in Miami either. Consistency is a talent and a skill. As an individual for Demar and as a team the Raptors have lacked it from game to game, half to half and quarter to quarter. No matter what the standings happen to say in order to be a playoff team the first step to that is consistency.