Wizards face another tough test against Raptors
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WASHINGTON -- There is no rest for the Washington Wizards this week.
Two nights after hosting the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Wizards play their third game in four nights as they welcome the red-hot Toronto Raptors to Capital One Arena.
Washington (36-26) trailed by 15 points after one quarter Wednesday and trimmed the deficit to two by halftime before the Warriors pulled away with a dominant third quarter -- outscoring the Wizards 27-14 -- en route to a 109-101 win.
"They just knocked down some shots," Otto Porter Jr., who led the Wizards with 29 points, told The Washington Post. "We mentally kind of broke down a little bit. Just simple mistakes on our part. They're a good team. They're going to capitalize off our mistakes."
Washington turned the ball over 16 times and leading scorer Bradley Beal was held to eight points on 3-of-15 shooting.
"All eyes are on him right now. I'm sure everybody in the league has a game plan for him that way," Golden State's Kevin Durant told thesportscapitol.com regarding Beal's status with John Wall out of the lineup.
"They just did a good job of defending me -- they took a lot of my shots away," Beal said. "They doubled, they switched. They are long and athletic and the ball wasn't going in. You have nights like that. I feel like we still did enough to compete and win the game."
Despite the loss, Washington is 10-4 since Wall went down and on Thursday coach Scott Brooks was named the NBA's Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for games played in February. The Wizards went 8-4 for the month, including 6-1 on the road and 5-3 in games against teams above .500.
One of those wins was against the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors (43-17), who have been nearly unbeatable otherwise.
DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points and Kyle Lowry added 17 as the Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic 117-104 on Wednesday in Toronto for their 11th win in 13 games.
Toronto led just 90-89 after three quarters before clamping down.
"We can't be satisfied with this," Raptors coach Dwane Casey told the Toronto Sun. "We've got to make sure we come out and understand what we are playing for. When you are playing for a championship, there are no nights off. Everyone will give you their best shot.
"Neither team was playing defense in that first half, but we got to set the tone at some point and play to our standards."
Casey was, however, pleased with the play of his bench, including forward Pascal Siakam, who scored 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting.
"Pascal is one of the hardest playing guys in the league," Casey told the Sun. "If you don't meet his energy, he will embarrass you and that is something that is a gift for that kid. He changed the game just with his speed and energy and give-a-crap level."
Brooks knows the Wizards won't be able to waste possession against the Raptors.
"We got to take care of the basketball. We can't keep turning the ball over," Brooks said. "It's basically almost a quarter of possessions (against the Warriors) that we just said, you know what, we are just going to play defense this quarter and not even shoot."
Raptors rookie forward OG Anunoby left Thursday's game after rolling an ankle and is in danger of missing his first game of the season.
The Wizards lead the season series 2-1, including a 122-119 victory on Feb. 1 in Washington without Wall. That night, Beal led eight Wizards in double figures with 27 points.
Updated March 1, 2018