John Wall was coming off a very good All-Star Weekend. He won the Slam Dunk Contest and played in his first NBA All-Star game. In his first regular season game after the All-Star break, Wall came out scorching, scoring 19 first half points against the Toronto Raptors in a match-up that saw two clubs fighting it out for Eastern Conference playoff positioning.
However despite Wall's solid performance, it wasn't enough for the Washington Wizards as they couldn't match the Toronto Raptors' push, which started from the second quarter on. With a 103-93 final score, the Raptors got their third victory in a row, while at the same time treating the Wizards to their third consecutive loss.
The game started with the two teams going back and forth. After several lead changes in the first quarter, both squads ended the first quarter tied at 27. But then, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry started to light things up. Lowry finished with a double-double, 24 points and 10 assists, to help the Raptors roll past their opponents. DeRozan, who had a decent output in his first All-Star game as well, added 14 points. Greivis Vasquez and Amir Johnson chipped in 14 points each while coming off the bench. Vasquez hit both of his three-pointer attempts, while Johnson connected on six out of his eight shots from the field.
For the Wizards, John Wall added seven assists to go along with his 22 total points. He shot 9-for-19 for the game, but was silent in the second half, missing all seven of his shots from the field. Marcin Gortat added 18 points to go along with 11 rebounds, and his fellow big man Nene finished with 17 points. Bradley Beal was a non-factor in this game, connecting on just two of his 10 shots from the field. He finished with nine points.
The Wizards shot badly from beyond the arc, going just 4-of-15 as a team, which equated to a dreadful 26.7 percent. Washington got outscored in the paint 60 to 48, but they managed to outrebound Toronto 40 to 29. Washington grabbed 16 offensive rebounds in contrast to just two from the Raptors, but the Wiz were not able to take advantage of their dominance in this area.
However this rebounding did keep the Wizards in the game and they were down by just two points early in the third quarter. But a 21-6 run by the Raps pretty much sealed things and even though Washington crept back into it with minutes left in the fourth quarter, it was a case of too little, too late. Wizards head coach Randy Wittman was ejected from the game in the middle of the fourth quarter after he received his second technical foul. Wittman was frustrated with the referees' calls and he erupted when John Wall was called for a charging foul, as he attempted a layup on the break.
The Toronto Raptors now improved to a 29-24 record and are 1.5 games ahead of the fourth-place Chicago Bulls. The Wizards, on the other hand, remain the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, holding a 25-28 record.
The Toronto Raptors will host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. The next game for the Wizards comes on Wednesday also, as they will face the Atlanta Hawks on the road.
JUSTIN BECKER (@NBAFantasyInfo)