Raptors’ playoff hopes slip away in 131-129 overtime loss to Wizards

Photo Credit: Toronto Raptors/Twitter

The Toronto Raptors dropped a close one on Thursday night, losing 131-129 to the Washington Wizards in overtime.

After a strong first-half on the defensive end, the Raptors allowed the Wizards to play their way back into the game and take control of the contest late. Fred VanVleet sunk a three-pointer to tie the game at 115 to force an extra period.

Pascal Siakam tied his career-best with 44 points, adding 11 boards and seven assists on 17-for-28 shooting. Gary Trent Jr. had a strong offensive showing in his first game back from injury, scoring 25 and sinking five three-pointers. VanVleet contributed 22 points, while Khem Birch was solid with 17 points and nine rebounds.

Bradley Beal led Washington with 28 points, going 11-for-22 from the field. Raul Neto broke out for 25 points, stretching the floor with five made shots from deep. Robin Lopez dominated in the post, scoring 24 points, making 12 of his 14 free-throw attempts. Russell Westbrook recorded his 34th triple-double of the season, registering 13 points, 17 rebounds and 17 assists.

Toronto’s poor free-throw shooting allowed Washington to hang on and eventually take the lead. The Raptors went 21-for-27 from the line, and only converted three attempts out of eight in the fourth quarter. Siakam went to the line 11 times, making eight of his attempts.

Lopez had his way inside, often switching onto smaller defenders and going to work with his back to the basket. He pounded his way to the hoop all night, settling for free-throws when Raptors’ defenders had to commit fouls to contain the 7’0, 278 lb center.

While he scored no points in a rare start, Stanley Johnson led Toronto’s defensive effort, frustrating Bradley Beal for most of the contest. Johnson’s aggressive defending resulted in two jump balls, although he fouled out of the contest late in the fourth.

Westbrook’s 180th triple-double is now one shy of tying the all-time record, set by Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.

Kyle Lowry, Yuta Watanabe, Paul Watson Jr., Aron Baynes, Chris Boucher and OG Anunoby all missed the game due to injury.

Tonight’s loss effectively kills the Raptors’ chance at qualifying for the play-in tournament, as Washington strengthens their hold on the 10th and final spot.

Toronto will host Memphis on Saturday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

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