Bradley Beal and John Wall scored 28 points apiece and the Washington Wizards beat Toronto 122-103 on Saturday, cutting the Raptors’ lead in their opening round playoff series to 2-1.
DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points to lead the Raptors on a chippy night, while Kyle Lowry had 19. Jonas Valanciunas finished with 14 and OG Anunoby had 12.
Game 4 is on Sunday in Washington, then the series goes back to Toronto for Game 5 on Wednesday.
The Raptors, who were swept by Washington on the same court in the opening round of the 2015 playoffs, never led by more nine points, falling behind for good early in the second quarter. And when Ty Lawson drilled a three with less than a second left in the third quarter, it sent the Wizards into the fourth with a 101-82 advantage.
The Raptors pulled to within 13 points on a three-pointer by Lowry with 7:06 left to play, but any hopes of a comeback were short-lived, and by the time Mike Scott sank a wide-open three with 3:06 to play, the Wizards were back up by 19 points, and coach Dwane Casey subbed off his starters.
It was an uncharacteristically sloppy night the Raptors, who coughed up 28 points on 19 turnovers.
The game was heated from the opening tipoff. A scuffle broke out before the game was even three minutes old, resulting in Anunoby and Markieff Morris received matching technical fouls.
Lowry was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul for smacking Beal on the head.
Then a second, more heated, scrap broke out in the third when Beal tried to swat the ball away from Valanciunas. Serge Ibaka then lunged to get at Wall and had to be held back. Technicals were handed out to Beal, Wall and Ibaka.
Beal’s hot night came after he managed just nine points in Game 2, prompting a meeting with Wall, Beal and Wizards coach Scott Brooks.
“John is going to have to look for him and I’m gonna have to call some more plays for him,” Brooks said before the game. “With all of that being said, we all have to play better. It’s not just about Brad playing better. We all have to play better. We’re playing against the best team in the East.”
After winning the series opener 114-106, then taking Game 2, 130-119, the Raptors certainly didn’t play like the top team in the east Friday. They were expecting a fierce fight from the Wizards on their home court. Casey noted the Wizards battled back in their playoff series last season against Boston.
“They were 0-2 to Boston and came out like a different team. We’ve got to be prepared,” DeRozan said in the morning shootaround. “We’ve got to play this game like it’s 0-0. If we come out any other way, you’ll know it. They’re a very talented team. Very athletic. Their speed and quickness is an issue. So, we’ve got to come out ready for them to be in attack mode.”
The Wizards definitely were, to the dismay of the small pockets of Raptors fans dotting Capital One Arena. The arena was a sea of red and white, thanks to a T-shirt giveaway. The shirts were laid out to spell “Rep DC.”
The Raptors dominated the game’s first few minutes, racing out to a 27-18 lead. But after Casey subbed off most of his starters, the Wizards closed the quarter with a 12-2 run, finally bringing a quiet Wizards crowd to life. The Wizards took a 30-29 advantage into the second.
Beal’s hook shot with three minutes left in the second put the Wizards up by 12 points, and Washington took a 69-61 lead into the dressing room at halftime.
The Wizards outscored Toronto 32-21 in the third, taking a 22-point lead when Lawson drained two free throws with 1:16 left in the frame.