WASHINGTON — The edge was back in the Raptors game but the winning was not and because of that Toronto returns home having given back the lead it worked so hard for in the first two games.
With Bradley Beal fouled out from the 5-minute mark of the final quarter, the Raptors should have had an advantage but it was the Wizards who looked the more dangerous and composed team through the final stages of the game on their way to a series-tying 106-98 win.
The ball movement and the flowing offence that has been the hallmark of this Raptors team was no where to be found in the final five minutes as Washington outscored Toronto 14-6 in the with Beal cooling his heels on the bench and still steaming over the foul that ended his night.
Toronto’s offence just got completely stagnant over the final few minutes as Washington simply refused to let the Raptors get anywhere near the basket and they settling for low percentage long range jumpers.
“They got on a roll,” DeRozan said of the final five minutes that were all Wizards. “They got in a rhythm. They all became aggressive. John (Wall) got aggressive and hit some big shots for them. We couldn’t execute. Myself, I took some bad shots that led to them getting out in transition and some easy buckets. We put them on the free throw line and they executed and we couldn’t get a stop and couldn’t get a bucket.”
Yes it was that one-sided.
Head coach Dwane Casey wasn’t hiding his disappointment in four wasted days in Washington.
“This one was tougher because I thought we had it under control,” Casey said of the Game 4 loss. “We had some turnovers, we had some unfortunate untimely turnovers. Nobody said this was going to be easy. I said that after Game 3. We’ve just got to bounce back. Neither team has one on the other team’s court yet. When you do that, then it’s a series. We have to go take care of home, then come back here and play better.”
Lowry, who had 19 points, five assists and seven rebounds says the focus in the remaining games has to be on ensuring the Raptors keep Washington from getting out in transition.
“The first half we kind of kept them out of transition,” Lowry said. “We got good shots and I think they were shooting 34%. We were shooting 44%. I think that is where we have to continue to focus, keep them out of transition and play our game. Just get shots and then get back in transition.”
No one was running from the fact that the final five minutes seem to revert to exactly the type of game the Raptors overhauled their offence to avoid.
“They were aggressive,” Lowry said of Washington’s stifling defence in those final five minutes, “but we missed some layups and shots. We passed up some shots too. We didn’t move the ball as well. We got just stagnant. We have to continue to play our offence — move and swing the ball — and stay mentally strong.”
That may be the toughest challenge of all. The Raptors came here in full control of the series, having slayed their Game 1 demons and even the ability to get out to a lead in a series. That is all yesterday’s news now as the two teams return to Toronto looking at a best-of-three with momentum squarely on Washington’s side.
“We are where we are now,” C.J. Miles said of the team’s mindset right now. “Ain’t nothing we can really do besides look at the film and prepare for the game on Wednesday. It’s just about knuckling down now. It’s a real street fight now, both ways, and you can see it out there.”
The turnovers remain a problem obviously for Toronto.
After turning it over 19 times in Game 3, the Raptors were back in a giving mood with 17 in Game 4 leading to 19 Washington points.
The Wizards got a key huge boost from Otto Porter to start the second half which was key.
Porter had been invisible for much of the series but he scored eight points in the first minute of the second half reeling back in a Raptors team that was up 11 at the half and looking to put the Wizards away for the night.
Porter hit back-to-back threes, just the second and third three-pointers of the night for the Wizards who would go on to put up six in the half.
Porter went back to sleep from an offensive standpoint after that but his 12 points and six rebounds, not to mention some tough defence on DeRozan over that final four or five minutes were huge for Washington.
Washington’s chances in finishing this one off took a hit with 4:58 to go when Beal, who had a then game-high 31 points, fouled out.
The foul was a tough one as DeRozan’s momentum took him into Beal who appeared to be turning away from him. DeRozan and Beal both wound up on the deck with Beal picking up his sixth and disqualifying foul.
He was dancing however at the end of the game along with flop-master Kelly Oubre Jr. as the Wizards celebrated a deserved win.
Toronto’s bench mob finally re-asserted its dominance albeit by a lesser margin than it has enjoyed for much of the season.
Still after getting spanked by the likes of Mike Scott and Oubre in Game 3, this was a huge response from the bench that has been playing without Fred VanVleet the vast majority of this series and will probably finish it without seeing him again as he rehabs a right shoulder injury.
Jakob Poeltl, who has struggled through the first three games of the series, had his best game in Game 4 with 10 points, seven boards and was a physical presence all night at the rim. Poeltl has seven boards, three on the offensive end.
He fouled out with 1:33 to go in the game.
The Raptors now have two days to work some things about in a series that returns to Toronto now a best-of-three with Game 5 on Wednesday night.
ANUNOBY SHAKES OFF INJURY
Already down Fred VanVleet, the Raptors were in no position to lose another key member of their rotation.
But just before the half, OG Anunoby went down under the Washington basket and wound up with Marcin Gortat landing on top of him.
When Anunoby got up it was very slowly and with some obvious discomfort. Anunoby didn’t make it all the way down to the other end of the floor before the Raptors turned the ball over and John Wall was flying down at him as he tried to find his footing.
Anunoby, who wound up fouling Wall who missed the shot, limped past the Toronto bench and into the locker room with the medical staff trailing.
As it turned out it was just a rolled ankle and Anunoby was out there in the second half almost as good as new.
Asked about it after the game, Anunoby assured a reporter it wasn’t anything serious.
“Just rolled it,” he said, shaking his head when asked if he was initially worried it was something more serious.
Anunoby, the lone Raptors rookie in the rotation, had four points and a pair of steals in just over 22 minutes of floor time.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies