It was a battle for lottery positioning last night at the ACC and the Wizards came out on top...
The lowly Dino entered last night's game against the lowlier Wizards with only one mission in mind.
Win at all costs.
Howland put it best in yesterday's "3 in the Key" when he said that yesterday evening's matchup presented a lose lose scenario for the Raptors; but while the Dinos' chances at the top spot in June's draft did take a hit, beating the struggling Wizards served as a much needed moral boost for a team that has had very little to cheer for this season.
After having the lead for most of the first quarter, Washington's 16-2 run to take a 43-37 lead with in the second quarter appeared to demoralize the Raps to a point of no return.
At the same time that Triano desperately called a time out to halt the Wizards' momentum, many of the 18 thousand plus fans in attendance had wished they were across the street at Real Sports watching March Madness.
But then something funny happened.
The Raptors responded to whatever motivational words Triano said to them in the huddle and proceeded to go on a 25-10 run to close out the quarter.
While they never commanded an extremely large lead throughout the course of the game, the Raptors were essentially on cruise control for the remainder of the it.
That is until the last few minutes of the fourth quarter when the Raptors started doing something that their fans have become accustomed to.
Although Toronto led 98-87, the Wizards were able to cut Toronto's 11 point lead down to two as they went on a 9-0 run of their own. However, that scare did not last long, as the Raps managed to retake their lead and went on to win the game 116-107.
In-spite of losing last night's game and dropping to a dismal 1-31 on the road, the Wizards have to be looking forward to next season as three of their starting rookies combined for 72 points as each of them scored over 20.
Regardless of how young the Wizards are and how good their rookies may be, the Dinos played a solid game. Not their best, that's for sure. Sloppy, absolutely. But a good game none the less as Bargnani and DeRozan each scored 30+ points and Reggie Evans cleaned up the glass, grabbing 15 boards.
The loss did cost Toronto a chance to close in on the Wizards for the leaugue's third worst record, but in many ways losing last night's game was not an option really for the Raps. The team desperately needed a win as they are set to begin a five-game west-coast road trip where they will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers.
So there will be plenty of chances at losses right there.
Plus leaving on a winning note will undoubtedly make some sort of a difference for a team that needs all the help it can get.
Whether or not it will be a big enough difference to earn Toronto a few Ws remains to be seen.