The game wasn’t televised on national TV, but it should have been because the Wizards and the Raptors went head-to-head for one of the best games of the season last night. The Wizards pulled off an emphatic 134-129 win in triple overtime.
It was a close game the entire time. The Raptors got off to a 27-21 start to end the first quarter, but it was Andre Miller time quickly after the first quarter ended. Miller dropped in nine quick points on four of four shooting from the field to jump start the Wizards in the second quarter. Starter John Wall relieved Miller halfway through the second quarter and scored nine points himself to lead a 36 point quarter by the Wizards.
At the half, the Wizards led 57-54. But the fun was just beginning. The third quarter was a back and forth quarter with Marcin Gortat going to work for the Wizards and the backcourt for the Raptors playing out of their mind. Gortat scored eight points and pulled down four rebounds in the third period. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 22 points and had their way the entire quarter. At the time, those two looked like the better backcour in the gamet, but what Wall did the rest of the game was a damn statement.
“I’m John Wall and I am the best point guard in the Eastern Conference.”
It may seem ignorant or like an overreaction, but it is what it was. Props to Wall, he made some incredible plays down the stretch.
The game continued to be back and forth in the fourth quarter and the teams went to overtime after a Gortat layup tied the game up with five seconds left.
The Raptors got out to a quick start in overtime, hopping out to a four point lead in the first two and a half minutes of play until Braldey Beal cut the lead to two points. With the score 108-110, the Raptors ran an awesome set to get Amir Johnson an easy dunk to put them up by four.
Side Note: This set really made me happy. As a die hard Maryland fan, I know what Greivis Vasquez is capable of and the Raptors ran something for him in crunch time, which made me giddy. They ran a double weave and then had Vasquez run a pick n’ roll with Johnson. Vasquez played it perfectly and dropped it off to Johnson for a dunk. Fun stuff (for me at least).
But back to John Wall. He quickly got to the basket on the next possession scoring a layup to make it a two point game. He then made a free throw to make it a one point game. Vasquez came down on the next possession and nailed a pull up jumper to put the Raptors up by three, 114-111. The Wizards called a timeout then Wall accelerated to the basket and found himself at the foul line. He made one of the two foul shots then he forced a steal at the end of the first overtime when the Wizards were desperate for a foul.
After making the steal, Wall then made an unreal in-n-out move to blow by the defender and finish at the basket to tie the game. And he didn’t stop there. Lowry drove the length of the floor with his right hand and tried to draw contact with his body as he shot a layup to win the game, Wall had other plans. Garrett Temple bodied Lowry the length off the floor and Wall came off his guy to swat Lowry’s shot and send it to a second overtime. It was remarkable block.
It was one of the finest sequences of basketball this year. Wall made a slick in-n-out move to tie the game and then blocked a shot from a very good point guard to send it to overtime. Clutch.
The second overtime was not the most exciting period of basketball. The two teams each scored four points. Actually, only two players scored in the period. Gortat and DeRozan each scored four points.
Wall made All-Star play after All-Star play in the third overtime. He blitzed a Vasquez pass and kicked it ahead to Trevor Ariza for a dunk to put the Wizards up by two with 1:20 left in the overtime. He then picked Vasquez’s pocket and kicked the ball ahead for a Martell Webster reverse layup to put the Wizards up by four. John Wall was not losing this game. He had already lost to the Raptors three times this year; he was not about to get swept.
And he didn’t.
- I didn’t even really mention Marcin Gortat, but the Wizards do not win without him. The Polish Hammer had 31 points and 12 rebounds. He scored the last seven points in the fourth quarter, including two straight and-ones. He missed the foul shot on the second one, which could have ended the game. Regardless, Gortat was at his best tonight.
- After Gortat’s first and-one, Vasquez came off a pick n’ roll and threw a sick cross court pass to to Patrick Patterson for a three. For a guy that didn’t miss a Vasquez game his entire career at Maryland, it had me celebrating like it was 2010.
- Chris Singleton gave big minutes for the Wizards tonight (felt weird typing) setting a season-high in points (13) and rebounds (9). It was only the 16th game he has appeared in this year, but with Nene out he may have to play more minutes in the future. Today was a good starting point start.
- These two teams would be an awesome 4-5 matchup in the first round of the playoffs The two best point guards in the Eastern Conference (Wall and Lowry) along with solid wing players (Ariza-Beal and Terrence Ross-DeRozan) just makes for a fun series. The Raptors have had the Wizards number, but if Wall plays like he did tonight, it is a whole other story for those teams. It needs to happen.
- Back to Vasquez, he had a season-high 26 points off the bench and was one charge call away from winning the game for the Raptors (questionable call), but I always enjoy seeing him play and tonight he went toe-to-toe with the Wizards backcourt.