WASHINGTON (CP) — With Rudy Gay gone via trade, the Toronto Raptors know they need a true team effort to keep winning games.
Compiling a season-high 29 assists — led by Kyle Lowry’s 11 — and getting 17 or more points apiece from four players — led by DeMar DeRozan’s 20 — the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors won for the fifth time in a row Friday night, beating the Washington Wizards 101-88.
“They are trusting each other,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “Nobody has an ego, thinking they should get ‘X’ number of shots. When one guy is down, the next guy picks him up. Everybody is cheering for each other.”
Patrick Patterson scored Toronto’s last 11 points of the third quarter, when the Raptors outscored the Wizards 36-16 to blow open a game that was tied with less than a minute left in the first half. Patterson finished with 18 points.
The Raptors have won nine of 11 games since Dec. 13, when most of the players acquired from the Kings in the deal that shipped Gay to Sacramento made their debuts with Toronto.
That group includes Patterson, along with Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes.
“We got workers,” Lowry said after outplaying Wizards point guard John Wall, who had 11 points and six assists, zero in the second half. “We are very unselfish.”
Across the way, Wizards coach Randy Wittman sounded quite the opposite note, saying he was “shocked” and “very disappointed” by how his team played on a night it drew boos from the home fans.
“We had creep in, for the first time in a long time, more selfish play than we’ve had. We can’t play that way. We’ve proven over the last couple years we can’t play that way,” Wittman said.
“Getting concerned with, ‘Why am I coming out? How many minutes am I getting? How many shots am I getting?’ Rather than: ‘What is the team doing?’ … We’re not good enough to do it that way.”
Asked whether he figures his players will learn from the loss, Wittman made reference to the cold snap that hit the East Coast and replied: “I hope it’s a smack in the face. I hope it’s 20 degrees below zero and they get smacked in the face outside with that, too. Maybe that’ll wake them up, too.”
Wall scored a season-high 37 in a loss at Toronto on Nov. 22, but on Friday had his streak of scoring at least 20 points end after eight games.
He disagreed with Wittman’s assessment.
“I don’t see that at all. I think we’re playing the right way. We’re playing as a team. You can’t say that,” Wall said.
“We tried to move the ball, we tried to do the right thing, but shots weren’t falling,” Wall added, then credited Toronto’s defensive play, adding: “We didn’t have enough space tonight. You couldn’t penetrate if you wanted to. You couldn’t get open shots.”
Washington came in on a five-game winning streak against Eastern Conference opponents but had all sorts of problems on offence against Toronto and wound up making only 41.5 per cent of its field-goal attempts — a hard-to-believe 18.8 per cent in the third quarter.
“At times, it looked like we didn’t want to play,” forward Trevor Booker said. “It’s pretty embarrassing, especially when they started booing us.”
Next for the Raptors come games against the elite of the East: at Miami on Sunday, and at Indiana on Tuesday.
“You can tell that we just go out there and have fun and play with one another,” DeRozan said. “We don’t care who scores the ball.”
Notes: Wizards F Trevor Ariza was ejected with 6:08 left in the third quarter after complaining about a charging call. … Toronto F Tyler Hansbrough sat out the game with a sprained left ankle. The team said he aggravated it during the team’s win against Indiana on Wednesday. … The Raptors sent rookie G Dwight Buycks to the NBA D-League. He appeared in only 12 of Toronto’s first 30 games this season, averaging 3.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 10.1 minutes.