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Bradley Beal stars again as Wizards down Raptors
TORONTO — Bradley Beal is making a strong case to earn top rookie honors in the Eastern Conference for the third straight month.
The third overall pick in last June’s draft, and the East rookie of the month in December and January, Beal scored 20 or more for the 11th time.
“I feel a lot more comfortable and I have a lot more confidence as well,” Beal said. “It’s a learning process for me and it’s been like that the whole year. Now the game is slowing down for me, so I’m making easier reads. I’m starting to learn how teams are playing me and I’m just playing off of that.”
Beal missed five games between Jan. 30 and Feb. 6 with a sore right wrist but has topped 20 points in four of seven games since returning.
“He’s been playing great basketball over the last two weeks,” Webster said. “The kid is balling. He has a great rhythm, let’s hope he keeps riding it.”
“He’s been that spark,” Okafor said. “When things are a little bit slow or there’s a lull, he gets it picked up.”
“They whipped us, they outworked us,” Casey said. “Washington is an athletic team and they are playing hard. That should have gotten our attention.”
It was a rough night for Toronto’s Rudy Gay, who missed his first six field goal attempts before scoring on a driving dunk one minute into the fourth quarter. Gay shot 1 for 11 and finished with seven points, one more than his season low, set Dec 22 at Houston when he played for Memphis.
“To crowd him was the most important thing tonight,” Webster said. “Our minds were set on making every possession for him tough.”
Nene answered with a dunk and, after a basket by Lowry, Trevor Ariza made a layup to make it 83-75 with 2:13 remaining.
Nine of Nene’s 11 points came in the final quarter.
“I thought he was huge for us in the fourth, scoring some big baskets and anchoring our defense,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
DeRozan made a pair of free throws with 1:57 left, but could only make one of two when he went back to the line with 1:04 remaining, leaving Toronto down 83-78.
Wall nearly lost the ball at midcourt on the next possession but kept the play alive by calling timeout. After the stoppage he streaked in to score a layup, giving the Wizards an 85-78 edge with 45 seconds left.
Back-to-back 3 pointers by Lowry cut it to 89-84 with 7 seconds to go, but Garrett Temple sealed it by making one of two at the line.
Okafor led all scorers with six points in the first, including a fast-break slam dunk in the final second that gave the Wizards a 17-16 lead.
Toronto’s 32 points at the break matched its season low. The Raptors also had 32 first-half points in an 88-82 loss to Memphis on Feb. 20.
Lowry’s 3-pointer with 4:14 left in the third tied it at 49-all, but Washington scored the next seven points and closed the quarter on a 14-5 run. Beal scored nine in the third as the Wizards took a 63-54 lead into the fourth
By Donald Lambro
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White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow