Johnson: Raptors surge past Wizards

Johnson: Raptors surge past Wizards
March 19, 2011, 2:01 am
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Friday, March 18, 2011 9:51 p.m.

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By Dave Johnson
CSNwashington.comToronto -- With three rookies in their starting lineup for the second consecutive game, the Wizards were committed and competitive. It was not about the Wizards effort, but their execution in a 116-107 loss to the Toronto Raptors.It could be argued that experience won out. The Raptors are also at the beginning of a rebuild and are by no means old. In fact second-year player DeMar DeRozan had 30 points on 11 of 15 shooting from the field.Still with Andrea Bargnani, who had a game-high 33 points, and Jose Calderon, who added 21 points, leading the way, the Raptors had players who were able to able to seize the critical moments and secure victory.To reach his 33 points, Bargnani was incredible 15 of 18 from the free throw line. It was not that Bargnani had an inside presence, but had a knack for drawing fouls on the perimeter.Trying to help deal with Bargnani put Trevor Booker in foul trouble, but he still found a way to score a career high 26 points in 36 minutes. Booker also matched his career high with 13 rebounds.The Wizards were again shorthanded. Nick Young missed a second consecutive game with a sore left knee. Josh Howard, Cartier Martin and Rashard Lewis all remained sidelined with knee ailments, while Andray Blatche remained out with a strained shoulder.Starting in place of Young, Jordan Crawford filled the role of the shooting guard and flirted with setting a career high for a second consecutive game. Crawford, who scored 27 points against the Bulls, finished with 25 points. John Wall added 21 points and 7 assists,With Booker and Crawford s point totals , it marked the first time since 1964 two rookies scored at least 25 points in a game for the Wizards. Gus Johnson had 40 points and Rod Thorn scored 29 points in game when the team was known as the Baltimore Bullets. Down by 14 points at the start of the fourth quarter, the Wizards staged a furious rally and used a 9-0 run to get to within 2 points at 98-96 with 3:39 remaining in the game. It was at that point the Wizards struggled to mange possession and the Raptors closed on an 18-11 run.I think the biggest thing, weve had a tendency in the year when we get behind, we have a tendency to really hang our heads and almost just think its not going to happen, Wizards head coach Flip Saunders said.With our young guys playing what theyve been doing, even though weve fallen behind they keep on fighting, make a couple of plays and put ourselves in position. We cut it to two and had chances. What you hope is some of your veterans would come in and play with the same sense of urgency at times. JaVale McGee, now in his third year is a young veteran had 12 rebounds and helped the Wizards make their big push with 7 of his 11 points in the fourth quarter, Maurice Evans was also critical in the late Wizards run with 11 of his 15 points in the final twelve minutes.To close the game the Raptors also were able to turn to another veteran. Eight-year veteran Leandro Barbosa emerged and scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.