With no Leonard, Lowry leads Raptors past Wizards 117-113
WASHINGTON (AP) — All’s going well for Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors at the moment, off to a 3-0 start and even winning without new star Kawhi Leonard in the second half of a back-to-back.
Nothing’s going right for John Wall and the Washington Wizards, 0-2 after a pair of losses at home and unable to rebound well while waiting for new big man Dwight Howard to make his season debut.
Taking over while Leonard got a night off, Lowry delivered 28 points and 12 assists, and backup guard Fred VanVleet hit a key shot with 14.6 seconds left to help Toronto beat Washington 117-113 Saturday.
“We are never going to force anything,” Lowry said about playing without Leonard, who was rested while his team was in action for the third time in four days. “Whatever happens, I’m going to stay within the game, always trust my teammates in every situation.”
Lowry sank a 3 before hopping into the lap of a front-row spectator, putting the Raptors ahead 109-101 with 3 minutes remaining, part of a personal seven-point run.
Then came a key sequence: Lowry put up a shot that was knocked away near the rim by Otto Porter Jr., a play initially ruled goaltending. After a review, though, it was ruled a clean block. Play resumed with a jump ball at center court, Toronto got possession and a full shot clock. Lowry let time run down, and VanVleet put up an awkward, off-balance jumper that somehow went in.
“Tough shot,” said Wall, who had 25 points and six assists.
Said VanVleet: “At that point, you just want to get a shot up and get an attempt, and I was able to knock it down.”
Bradley Beal scored 32 points and became the career leader in 3-pointers for Washington, which finished the game without ejected coach Scott Brooks.
Moments after Beal argued a call while on defense, he got incensed when he thought Toronto should have been called for a foul when Wall tumbled to the court on a drive to the basket. There was no whistle, though — except for the technical foul on Beal.
“I disagreed with the call on John. He got tripped. The referee told me I ran up on him and so he called a tech. So I guess he felt threatened,” Beal said. “Next thing I know, Coach Brooks is gone.”
Wall and Brooks got into it with the officials, resulting in Brooks’ ejection. Lowry made two free throws to boost the Raptors’ edge to 102-89.
“Frustration built up,” Brooks said. “We’ve got to play through whatever we think is against us. Just play through it. And quite honestly, I set a poor example.”
This was a rematch from the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last season, when the Raptors were seeded No. 1 and eliminated the No. 8 Wizards in six games.
While Washington largely relies on the same core of players, it added Howard, who missed all of training camp, the preseason and the first two games with a sore backside. Ian Mahinmi started at center and did not exactly distinguish himself, accumulating more personal fouls (four) than points (two).
Leonard averaged 27.5 points and 11 rebounds in his first two games with Toronto after arriving in a trade with the San Antonio Spurs. He only played in nine games for San Antonio in 2017-18, missing most because of a quadriceps injury.
OG Anunoby started in place of Leonard and contributed 12 points — all in the first half.
“We’ve got a spirited group,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said, “that’s ready to fight.”
Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka each scored 16. ... 15-4 against the Wizards over the last five years.
Wizards: Outrebounded 52-37 overall and 14-9 on the offensive glass. “If we keep getting out-rebounded the way we are,” Wall said, “we’re going to keep finding ways to lose.”
Brooks was critical of starting forward Otto Porter Jr., lamenting: “Got to get yourself open” and “He has to play faster.”
BEAL FOR 3
Beal surpassed Gilbert Arenas’ previous team mark of 868 3s by making his 869th with a little more than 4½ minutes left.
Raptors: Host Charlotte on Monday.
Wizards: At Portland on Monday, opening a five-game road trip.
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