The Raptors were singing the fourth-quarter blues last night and, in the end, the result was the same old song.
Another loss, their fourth in a row. The Raptors are now 7-12 on the season with the next three games on the road, including tonight against the tough Atlanta Hawks.
The story of last night's 106-102 loss to the Washington Wizards at the Air Canada Centre was a collapse down the stretch and the team's continued problems on the defensive end of the floor. The game marked the 10th consecutive time a Raptors opponent has reached triple-digits in scoring.
While two of Washington's big guns, Antawn Jamison and Gilbert Arenas stepped up in a big way in the final 12 minutes, scoring 10 and 12 points respectively, and the Wizards out-scored Toronto 34-25, Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu shot a collective 2-for-13 for the Raptors in the quarter.
Jay Triano certainly looked the part of a beaten head coach after the game.
"It's all the same," he said, when asked if losing a home game prior to three on the road is especially frustrating. "It's tough. We don't like losing.
"Like I said before, they're all important. I look at (tonight's) as important," he added. "I don't look ahead. I try to prepare as much as I can for the next game."
Despite his poor shooting in the fourth, Bosh led the Raptors' attack yet again, recording 22 points and 14 rebounds for his NBA-leading 16th double-double of the season. He scored 18 in the second quarter alone, tying a career high.
The Wizards shot 48% from the floor and improved to 6-10.
Andrea Bargnani, Toronto's starting centre, had a good game, at least offensively, picking up 20 points and 11 rebounds, but his defence at times was sub-par, like in the first quarter, when a rebound fell right into his lap. But he lost it and fouled Caron Butler, and the Washington forward then hit both free throws.
The Raptors lead 77-72 heading into the fourth quarter and trailed by three with 26 seconds left after backup point guard Jarrett Jack, who finished with 18 points off the bench, scored on a layup. But that was as close as they would get as Toronto forward Hedo Turkoglu missed two three-point attempts in a row in the final seconds when the game still was on the line.
The Raptors, one of the best three-point shooting teams in the NBA, shot 1-for-20 against from three-point range on Sunday in a 113-94 loss to the Phoenix Suns, and their troubles from beyond the arc continued yesterday, as they went 8-for-21. They also turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 22 Washington points. On the boards, however, the Raptors played well, gathering a season-high 50.
The Wizards' Jamison, beat his Toronto counterpart Bosh, scoring 30 points with 12 boards. Centre Brendan Haywood had 15 points with nine rebounds for Washington. The visiting side's all-star point guard Arenas, who has averaged just 10.7 points in his past two games, including only six in 33 minutes against Charlotte last Wednesday, broke out in a big way last night, with 22 points and nine assists.
His counterpart with the Raptors, Jose Calderon, also played well, with 20 points, five assists and four rebounds.