Wizards go cold down the stretch in Game 5 loss to Raptors
TORONTO (AP) —
The Toronto Raptors rode to a seldom-used lineup to move within a game of advancing in the NBA playoffs.
DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 points and 10 assists and the Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 108-98 on Wednesday night in Game 5.
Toronto rebounded after losing Games 3 and 4 on the road to take a 3-2 series lead back to Washington for Game 6 on Friday night. The home team has won all five games in the series.
The only team in the NBA to avoid losing three straight at any point this season, the Raptors went 5-0 following back-to-back losses during the regular season, and have not lost three straight since last year's second-round sweep against Cleveland. The last time Toronto lost three regular-season games in a row was from Feb. 8 to 14, 2017.
Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas had not played a single fourth-quarter minute in the series before getting the call down the stretch to play alongside Delon Wright, Lowry, DeRozan and C.J. Miles, a group that barely shared the floor this season.
"We're all capable of going it offensively and defensively and it showed tonight," DeRozan said. "Everybody stepped up and Delon stepped up big."
Raprtors coach Dwane Casey acknowledged he was "searching" for the right lineup combination.
"I thought Delon Wright did a good job down the stretch handling the ball," Casey said. "It gave us an opportunity for Kyle and DeMar to get off the ball a little bit more and I thought that was the difference."
Wright scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, and Valanciunas had 14 points and 13 rebounds as the Raptors improved to 5-0 in home Game 5s over the past five years.
"Delon Wright came in and made some big shots and big plays for them," Washington's John Wall said. "Whenever he gets over 10 or 15, nine times out of 10 they win the game. He's a big key to their team when they go small."
Wall had 26 points, and Bradley Beal added 20 for the Wizards. They went nearly four minutes without scoring down the stretch. Marcin Gortat had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Washington shot 8 for 24 in the fourth quarter, and Toronto had 15 rebounds in the final frame.
"We feel like we let one slip away," Wall said. "They made the biggest shots at the end of the game."
The Raptors won despite being out rebounded 50-35.
"They crushed us on rebounds," Lowry said.
Wall connected on 10 of 21 shots but missed all four of his attempts from 3-point range.
"He's a tough cover," Casey said. "He's one of the best in the league. I've said that he's a miniature LeBron when he has the ball coming at you because he's so strong and powerful."
Toronto trailed 87-82 after a three-point play by Kelly Oubre Jr. with 8:52 left, but regained the lead with a 6-0 run over the next 1:20.
After Washington's Markieff Morris dunked with 4:06 left, Wright replied with a 3 and, after a missed shot by Wall, converted a layup off a pass from DeRozan to give the Raptors a 99-93 lead with 2:59 remaining.
Washington didn't score again until Beal's 3 with 16 seconds left.
"The ball became a little bit stagnant tonight down the stretch," Brooks said. "We need to get some more ball movement."
Wizards: Gortat had six rebounds in the first quarter. ... The Wizards had nine offensive rebounds in the first half, compared to two for Toronto. Washington finished with 14 offensive rebounds, while Toronto had six.
Raptors: Fred VanVleet (right shoulder) was not available. VanVleet has played fewer than three minutes in the series, all in Game 2. ... After making 18 turnovers in each of Games 3 and 4, Toronto had 10 turnovers in Game 5.
Before the game, players from both teams held up banners with the hashtag #TORONTOSTRONG and a moment of silence was held to honor the victims of the deadly van attack Monday in Toronto. The Raptors, the Wizards and the NBA will make a donation to a fund for victims and those affected by the incident.
DIFFICULTIES FROM DISTANCE
The Wizards shot 5 for 26 from 3-point range, going 1 for 10 in the fourth quarter.
Toronto also had Game 5 home wins over Brooklyn in 2014, Indiana and Miami in 2016, and Milwaukee in 2017.
Game 6 on Friday night in Washington.