Around the eight-minute mark in the first half, the Toronto Raptors led 51-28 and appeared it would easily defeat the Washington Wizards, again.
Washington fought back and outscored Toronto 40-26 in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.
Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal recorded his second-career triple-double with 43 points, 20 rebounds and tied a career-high with 15 assists in more than 54 minutes of action.
However, the Wizards (18-26) needed a few more points and rebounds as they lost Sunday to the Raptors 140-138 in double-overtime amongst a raucous crowd at Capital One Arena in northwest D.C.
“Anytime you have two teams lay everything they have on the floor, you can walk away knowing that you did your best,” said Wizards head coach Scott Brooks. “We didn’t start off well, for whatever reason. Disappointed that we didn’t get the win, but still proud of our guys in the way they battled.”
In the fourth quarter, the Wizards forced four turnovers and recorded three blocked shots that included two by center Thomas Bryant.
Beal scored 16 of his 21 points from the 3-point line in the final quarter. He also dished out five assists and pulled down four rebounds.
Beal wasn’t available for comment after the game because he left to prepare for the team’s trip to London where they will face the New York Knicks on Thursday.
Toronto (33-12), which has the best record in the Eastern Conference, played its starters heavy minutes because of injuries to starting center Jonas Valanciunas and key reserves Fred VanVleet and C.J. Miles.
Serve Ibaka played center and knocked a down 3-pointer with 13.9 seconds left in double overtime.
Although Raptors forward Pascal Siakam fouled out in the second overtime, he finished with 24 points and 19 rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 41 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year also recorded three steals to help the Raptors win its fifth straight game.
One stat that hurt Washington came from the free-throw line. Toronto, which ranks near the bottom of the league in free throw attempts per game, doubled Washington’s output with 36 attempts.
Since the 2013-14 season, Washington’s record against Toronto stands at 4-17, the worst against any team in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards’ last regular-season victory against the Raptors happened Feb. 1. The teams face each other one more time this season Feb. 13 in Canada.
Washington continues to deal with its own injuries, namely All-Star point guard John Wall, who had season-ending heel surgery last month. Markieff Morris will not resume basketball activities for another several weeks due to a neck injury and Dwight Howard continue to recovery from gluteal muscle surgery.
“We’re not just going to give up easy,” said Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr., who had 27 points and eight rebounds off the bench. “We’re going to fight to the end until all it’s zero-zero on the [score] boardWe’ll go over film and use this game as an example in what we have to do throughout the rest of the year.”