TORONTO (AP) — John Wall wasn’t able to enjoy his best game of the season so far.
DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay each scored 17 points to help the Toronto Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 96-88 on Friday night, overcoming Wall’s season-high 37 points.
Wall connected on 15 of 21 field goal attempts, including both his 3-pointers, and went 5 of 7 from the free throw line. Still, it wasn’t enough for the Wizards, who fought back from a 16-point deficit to take the lead in the third quarter but couldn’t hold on in the fourth.
“It was great but it doesn’t mean anything when you don’t come out with a win,” Wall said of his performance. “We didn’t make the right plays down the stretch.”
It was the ninth time Wall has scored 30 points or more. His career high is 47, set March 25 against Memphis.
“John had a good game tonight but it’s not about who had a good game, it’s about winning and losing,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “That’s what we’ve got to focus on.”
Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Toronto. Amir Johnson added 14 points and Kyle Lowry had 12 for the Raptors, who won consecutive games for the first time this season and lead the Atlantic Division with a 6-7 record.
Bradley Beal scored 17 points but Washington’s modest winning streak was snapped at two games. Nene had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who have lost seven of their last eight in Toronto.
“We made efforts to get back into this game but we had too many lapses,” Martell Webster said.
Already without injured forwards Al Harrington and Trevor Ariza, Washington lost forward Jan Vesely in the third quarter with a sore lower back.
“That’s the beast of this league,” Webster said about the spate of injuries. “You’ve got to make do with what you have. It hurts every time one of your soldiers goes down, but you’ve got to keep fighting.”
After watching a 13-point lead disappear in a forgettable third quarter, the Raptors came out firing to start the fourth. Toronto took the lead with a 9-0 run to begin the period, then answered Beal’s 3-pointer with eight straight points, including back-to-back 3s by Steve Novak and Terrence Ross, to lead 83-73 with 6:33 remaining.
Wall replied with six straight points, and a three-point play by Beal cut it to 87-84 with 3:32 left.
After making one of two from the line, Wall hit a 3 with 1:33 left, cutting it to 90-88. Gay answered with a jumper, then sealed it with four straight free throws in the final 37 seconds.
Gay skipped shootaround Friday because of flu-like symptoms. He had just six points through three quarters before scoring 11 in the fourth.
“He could have easily mailed it in or checked out but he fought through it and gave us 17 big points,” appreciative coach Dwane Casey said.
Gay said he was short of breath and tired, but managed to make an impact by slowing the game down in the final quarter.
“I felt like I was trying to fight through the fact that I was a little sluggish and a little slow,” he said. “In the fourth quarter I just let it come to me and it got easier.”
DeRozan scored 11 points in the first and Johnson had 10, two of them on a huge alley-oop from Lowry, but the Wizards got seven each from Beal and Wall to keep it close. Toronto led 32-27 after one.
Washington made just four of 21 field goal attempts in the second, scoring only 11 points, as Toronto took a 51-38 edge into halftime.
Toronto went cold in the third, making four of 18 field goal attempts, while Wall suddenly got hot. He had 18 points in the third, scoring 16 of 18 points for the Wizards during one stretch as Washington took a 70-66 lead into the final quarter. At one point, Lowry lost a shoe while trying to defend the speedy Wall on a fast-break layup following a Toronto turnover.
“He’s definitely a heck of a player,” DeRozan said. “He has the passion to win and he showed that in the third quarter to try and bring his team back. We had to withstand that as much as we could.”
NOTES: Toronto’s bench outscored Washington’s 25-9. … Lowry had nine assists. … Harrington (right knee) missed his fifth straight game, while Ariza (right hamstring) sat out for the fourth consecutive game. … Toronto was without F Quincy Acy (right ankle) and G Dwight Buycks, who is away from the team for personal reasons. … Washington is 2-6 on the road. … The Raptors will also host Brooklyn, Miami and Denver on their four-game homestand.