Raptors aim to continue success against Wizards

NBA Basketball
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The Washington Wizards will visit the Toronto Raptors for the second time in less than a month Friday night trying to reverse a trend.

The Raptors have won six consecutive meetings with the Wizards, including a 122-118 verdict Dec. 20. Toronto is 20-4 against Washington dating back into the 2013-14 season.

After trailing by 11 points to open the fourth quarter in their most recent loss to the Raptors, the Wizards tied the game on Ish Smith’s 3-pointer with 5:21 left but Patrick McCaw restored Toronto’s lead on a 3-pointer with 3:02 remaining.

“I feel like we should have won,” said Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, who scored 37 points.

That game is a reflection of each team’s recent play, the Wizards failing to prevail in a game they feel that they could have won and the Raptors losing a big lead.

The Wizards lost 115-106 to the host Chicago Bulls Wednesday night, a game in which they led by five points at halftime before overcoming an 11-point, third-quarter deficit to lead by four early in the fourth.

“I don’t like losing, I’m sorry,” said Beal, who scored 23 points. “Especially winnable games.”

“I feel like guys are frustrated,” said Wizards forward Troy Brown Jr. who had no points in 17 minutes. “It was one of those things like because of last game (against Chicago), we lost the game when we were up 18. This was one of the games that guys would take personal, and we feel like we owed them one. So to lose it the way we did, I feel like we didn’t play like we wanted to.”

The Raptors, meanwhile, nearly blew a 30-point, second-quarter lead before defeating the host Oklahoma City Thunder 130-121 on Wednesday. The Thunder cut the lead to three points with 2:09 left in the fourth quarter before Toronto prevailed.

“We just talked to each other, told us to stay together and just relax,” said Raptors guard Norman Powell, who had 23 points.

Powell (shoulder) and Pascal Siakam (groin) returned Sunday after missing 11 games each and Marc Gasol (hamstring) was back Wednesday after missing 12 games.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse mentioned conditioning.

“Yeah, I think, in general, I am a little concerned about our conditioning,” Nurse said. “I just think we are playing extremely hard in stretches, especially at the start, and then it seems to me more like we rev our motor really high and then they come back at us or halftime comes. … and we can’t quite get it revved up to the same extent.

“That has to do with conditioning and recovery. I just have to be a little more careful with the stints and how long they are so they don’t go past the exhaustion point.”

The Raptors could also have Fred VanVleet (hamstring) back this weekend. He has missed four games.

Beal has 16 games — 11 in a row — with 20 or more points against Toronto since the 2010-11 season.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks said Beal, who recently missed seven games with a sore lower right leg, had some right shoulder soreness before the game Wednesday. His status was determined after a pregame workout.

“My shoulder’s good,” Beal said after playing 27 minutes against the Bulls.

–Field Level Media

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