Bradley Beal’s 43 points not enough as Raptors hold on to beat Wizards
Over the course of Sunday’s game against the Toronto Raptors, Bradley Beal lifted the Washington Wizards.
His 21 points in the fourth quarter alone including a game-tying 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds left helped force overtime, erasing a 23-point defect from earlier in the afternoon.
But Beal’s heroics weren’t enough.
Star forward Kawhi Leonard lifted the Raptors to a 140-138 victory in double overtime, grabbing a pivotal offensive rebound that set up a go-ahead 3-pointer from center Serge Ibaka.
Beal finished with a season-high 43 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists.
Leonard answered with 41 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
The Wizards entered Sunday’s contest with a re-discovered joy for the game. Against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, guard Tomas Satoransky earned his first career triple-double and his teammates showered him with water bottles inside their locker room following the win. Washington, too, had won five of its last seven.
But the Raptors were ready to face the Wizards. They rushed out to a 9-0 lead behind forwards Leonard and Pascal Siakam. Washington did not have an answer for either’s towering size or athleticism.
Toronto was also honed in on Beal. Before the game, Raptors coach Nick Nurse was highly complimentary of the Wizards star, saying Beal’s footwork was among the best in the game.
“Always when I’m preparing for these guys, I get amazed at his I always tell the team he’s got the best start-stop-start in the league,” Nurse said of Beal. “He’s going one way 100 miles an hour, stops on a dime and is back the other way and then back the other way again. He’s hard to keep track of.”
The Raptors, though, did a solid job of keeping a defender consistently attached to Beal. Through the first quarter, Beal had just two points, went 1-for-9 from the field and the Raptors held a 36-21 lead.
Beal found a better rhythm in the second, and it was no surprise the Wizards were able to cut into Toronto’s lead. The Raptors led 61-50 at halftime, but the Wizards outscored them in the quarter with Beal’s eight points.
Washington’s success didn’t last long. In the third quarter, the Raptors swarmed the Wizards with Leonard, in particular, dominant. In addition to his 10 points in the third, Leonard forced two steals and had one block.
Leonard, who the Raptors acquired in the offseason from the San Antiono Spurs, was as equally impressive as Beal.
But Beal caught fire in the fourth. He went 8-of-9 to drag the Wizards back.