Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker
Prior to Game 5, John Wall and the Wizards said it would take another solid effort like Game 4 to finally win off their home court in the playoffs, well they did put up an effort, but it lacked the solid finish they were looking for. Now the Wizards return home Friday night in a do or die situation in Game 6 after a 108-98 loss to the Raptors tonight at Air Canada Center.
For the Wizards some costly mistakes in the final 5:00 of the fourth quarter may have cost them a much needed victory on the road. John Wall tossed up a few errant three pointers in hopes of saving the victory tonight in the final 1:30, but just could not find the right combination after the Raptors seemed to double Bradley Beal on several possessions.
Toronto just seemed to find the right combination tonight against the Wizards and finally held on to the ball when it mattered. Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey stressed the importance of having effort from other players besides Lowry and DeRozan, which they did tonight. It came from one player you would not expect to make the entire difference, Delon Wright.
Wright scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, and Valanciunas had 14 points and 13 rebounds as the Raptors improved to 5-0 in home Game 5s over the past five years.
“I thought Delon Wright did a good job down the stretch handling the ball,” Casey said. “It gave us an opportunity for Kyle and DeMar to get off the ball a little bit more and I thought that was the difference.
“We are not out of this yet,” said Wizards Head Coach Scott Brooks. As I said to you guys last week, we have to find a way to win on each others court, they will have to do that on Friday at our place, if not we can settle that back here on Monday night.”
Whether the Wizards find a way to settle this battle, it will likely require them to play flawless basketball again in front of a home crowd on Friday night. If they are unable to do that, Toronto will have given them a payback for what happened to them three years ago in the first round and they will move on and the Wizards will again search for answers on how to successfully advance to the second round.