Dave Johnson: 3-Game Win Streak Remains Elusive

Dave Johnson: 3-Game Win Streak Remains Elusive
February 21, 2010, 3:32 am
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Saturday, February 20, 2010, 10:30 PM
Wizards-Raptors Highlights and Flip's Response

By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comToronto----One is the loneliest number but for the Washington Wizards three is the hardest to get. With a 20-7 run to close the game the Toronto Raptors secured a 109-104 victory and spoiled the Wizards bid for its first three-game winning streak of the season.For the second time in three games Andray Blatche led the Wizards in scoring with 24 points. In an effort to get the game back from the Raptors, Blatche scored six of his points in the final 1:21 of the game including a strong post move on Andrea Bargnani that led to a layup to bring the Wizards to within three points at 105-102.We had opportunities, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. We played hard and put ourselves in a position to win. We just could not make that big shot to withstand their momentum.Fort Washington, Marylands Jarrett Jack led the Raptors with 23 points and eight assists and proved to be the catalyst in the Raptors comeback. With 6:35 left in the fourth quarter the Wizards had a 97-89 advantage when Jack returned to the game.Jack then took over by scoring eleven of the Raptors final 20-points.The Wizards struggled with Jacks drives to the basket and at one point he scored seven straight points to cut a nine-point Wizards advantage to two points at 100-98 with 3:54 to go in the game. Then Bargnani, who added 18 points on the night, changed the game with his length as he frustrated the Wizards by protecting the rim. With 3:33 remaining, Bargnani blocked a Blatche layup attempt that would have given the Wizards a four-point cushion.Instead Hedo Turkoglu scored two of his 16 points on a driving reverse layup on the baseline to tie the game at 100. Then it was back to the defensive work of Bargnani as he blocked a Randy Foye layup attempt that would have given the Wizards the lead back with 2:23 left in the fourth quarter.Bargnani denied the Wizards again with 1:54 left on the clock as he rejected an Al Thornton drive to the basket to preserve the Raptors 105-100 lead. The Wizards did not settle for jumpers. They attacked the basket but the seven-foot frame of Bargnani was a problem.Still the chances were there for the Wizards. Again attacking the basket, Blatche was able to weave around Bargnani and work the baseline for a reverse layup attempt with 41-second left. Instead Blatches shot bounced several times on the rim but did not fall and the Raptors lead stayed at 105-102.With 14.9 seconds left Turkoglu saved the game for the Raptors. Turkoglu is known for his dramatic game-winning shots, but this time it was a rebound that proved decisive. Amazingly Jack missed a driving layup but Turkoglu was able to wiggle and grab the rebound to again allow the Raptors to stay in front 105-102.The Wizards just could not find a way to fight through the fourth quarter on a night when they did so many things well. The ball again moved as the Wizards recorded 20 assists marking the third straight game they reached the 20-assist mark as a team.The Wizards also again showed resilience on defense. The Raptors have now scored at least 100-points in twenty straight games, but in the third quarter the Wizards become more disruptive on defense and forced the Raptors into six turnovers.The energy on defense allowed the Wizards to turn a seven-point half time deficit into a three point advantage at 88-85 heading into the final quarter. While Raptors shot 50-percent from the field in the third quarter, the Wizards outscored them 31-21 and did not allow any second-chance points.The loss to the Raptors marked the sixth-time this season the Wizards failed to extend a winning streak to three games