DeRozan scores 32 points, Raptors beat Wizards in Game 5

Doris Richards
April 26, 2018

This was hard to watch and even harder to explain.

The Raptors were locked in a back-and-forth affair with the Wizards in Toronto on Wednesday night as both teams looked to take an important 3-2 lead in the series.

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. They went almost four minutes without scoring down the stretch. It was much-needed secondary scoring for the Raptors on a night when DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for 49 points.

Davis was back for the first time to help oversee Wednesday's Game 5, quickly calling foul, only this time it was for the Raptors, whistling Marcin Gortat on the game's first possession. "Is that what it is, up north?"

If the Raptors lose this game, their chances of surviving the series plummet. As DeRozan dropped 13 in the first, Wall answered with nine points of his own as well as three rebounds, two assists and a steal. And, absent that kind of a reversal, this team would once again be confronting the same existential questions that it has been forced to consider in each of the past few off-seasons. The two teams, plus the National Basketball Association, are donating to a fund set up to help the families affected by the attack. Bringing back Casey as head coach, while keeping the Lowry-DeRozan backcourt and making a pile of changes to the rest of the roster, and then having that group install new offensive and defensive systems, felt like a last shot at trying to achieve a sustained playoff run with this group. The Raptors have taken a lot of flak for playoff failures but they pulled through when they need to tonight. They won the last two games in Washington.

This series, though, has confused that narrative.

The only team in the National Basketball Association to avoid a three-game losing streak 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.

Game 6 will be played at Capital One Arena in Washington on Friday night, with the Wizards facing elimination.

Gortat got called for a foul on the opening tap in Game 1, but when he plays under control he can be a presence, on the boards, setting screens, igniting fast breaks or knocking down mid-range jumpers.

Clearly, this was the most competitive game of the series and the lack of separation by either team reflected that tightness and competitiveness until the likes of J.V., Wright and Miles took their game to another level. It was a hot environment on Sunday, so we have to turn around and do the same thing. DeRozan said, "I hope they're not".

The Air Canada Centre crowd did its part and the Raptors did theirs. Game 7, if necessary, will be back in Toronto.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article