Raptors eye season sweep of banged-up Wizards
The Washington Wizards visit the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night for one final chance to salvage a victory in the season series.
Toronto won the first three games of the four meetings between the teams, although two of them have been close.
The Raptors defeated the Wizards 117-113 in D.C. on Oct. 20, 125-107 in Toronto on Nov. 23 and 140-138 in double overtime on Jan. 13 back in Washington.
Both teams played Monday night. The injury-depleted Wizards lost 121-112 to the Pistons in Detroit, while the Raptors eked out a 127-125 home victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
The Wizards (24-33) have been without John Wall, who was already out for the season with heel surgery before tearing his left Achilles tendon last week. Against the Pistons, they also were without Tomas Satoransky, for personal reasons, which meant they were without their two best point guards.
That left Chasson Randle making his first NBA start against the Pistons, with backup help from Jordan McRae, the top scorer in the G League (30 points per game).
"Definitely hurt not having Sato, but he has some family things he has to take care of," said Bradley Beal, who had 32 points, six rebounds and 10 assists in 41 minutes on Monday. "Chase did a good job. Jordan did a great job with his minutes as well. (Having one true point guard) changed a little bit, but not too much. I always say we have enough to get the job done."
Randle had five points and one assist in 19 minutes, and McRae had 10 points and four assists in 19 minutes.
The Pistons outscored the Wizards 56-40 in points in the paint.
"We gave away too many points in the paint, especially early on," Beal said.
Jeff Green was listed as questionable for the game Monday because of left hip tightness, but he played 28 minutes, scoring four points with five assists.
The Raptors, meanwhile, will be without guard Fred VanVleet for at least three weeks with a left thumb injury.
The Nets gave the Raptors a tough time Monday, with Kawhi Leonard hitting a bank shot with 4.4 seconds left in the game providing the winning points. He had 30 points for the game.
"I asked if he called 'bank,'" Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "He said he called 'game' when he shot it. That covers everything as long as it goes in, right?"
Leonard has been in a bit of a slump by his standards recently, but Monday he also matched a career-best eight assists.
"He was good," Nurse said. "I don't know if he was dominating, but he was better than he has been. He wanted the ball, made some good plays and got into the thing."
The Raptors (42-16) have won five in a row to get back within a game of the Milwaukee Bucks for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I mean, we can be real good," Leonard said. "We have to come out with the same mindset and energy every night. That's the thing that we are working on, trying to be consistent and just knowing the game plan. Once we get that down and start making our shots, it's going to be very hard to beat us."
Marc Gasol scored 16 points Monday -- 11 in the fourth quarter -- in his second game with the Raptors, and his home debut. He was obtained in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies before last week's deadline.
"I definitely got more comfortable," Gasol said.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 12, 2019