John Wall called Tuesday's game vs. the Toronto Raptors the most important of the season coming out of the All-Star break, and he played that way in scoring 19 of his team-high 22 points in the first half. Unfortunately, not too many of his Wizards teammates came along for the ride.
The Wizards (25-28) lost their third game in a row and fifth of their last six. They're winless in three games vs. Toronto (29-24), one of two Eastern Conference teams they've yet to defeat this season.
Wall made nine of his first 12 shots. But except for Marcin Gortat (18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists) among the starters and some aggressive play off the bench from Trevor Booker (10 points), the Wizards played uninspired most of the way. Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal combined to shoot 4-for-18.
The Wizards haven't been three games below .500 since Jan. 11 when they were 16-19.
Kyle Lowry missed six of his first eight shots, but he caught fire in the third quarter by making his first six attempts as the Raptors took an 84-70 lead.
With 4:39 left in the game, Wizards coach Randy Wittman was ejected after getting hit with consecutive technicals arguing what appeared to be a questionable charging call on Wall. Lowry drew offensive fouls earlier in the game on Booker and Gortat by falling as they set what appeared to be legal screens.
It inspired a comeback as they held Toronto without a field goal in the last 7:36 but it wasn't enough. The Raptors still shot 56.8% from the field (42 of 74) and made 43.8% of their three-pointers (7-for-16).
Lowry led all scorers with 24 points and had a game-high 10 assists. Six players for the Raptors scored in double figures.
Key stats: The Raptors scored 38 of their 55 first-half points in the paint. They finished with 60, the most the Wizards have given up since the second game of the season vs. the Philadelphia 76ers (74). ... The Wizards had just four fast-break points, a season-low at home and the least since Nov. 29 when they had none at the Indiana Pacers.
Not well: Nene was far from 100%. He had a stomach virus but still logged 36 minutes on 8-for-17 shooting for 17 points and five rebounds. But again, his foul shooting hurt the Wizards as he went 1-for-5 from the line.
Mismatch: Amir Johnson and Greivis Vasquez came off the bench for Toronto to score 14 each. The reserves contributed 43 points, compared to just 21 for Washington.
From the locker room: "For some reason, when he got ejected, we played with a lot of energy. But we have to do that from the start and not just when something big like throwing out our coach happens." -- Beal
"We had trouble guarding off the dribble tonight. We defended pretty much a lot of their sets and then it gets down to seven, eight seconds on the shot clock and they break you down off the dribble. That's how they get 60 points in the paint." -- Wittman
"They make shots. They play hard. They are competing. I guess, they have more will than we have to win. They just want it more than we do." -- Gortat on why Toronto has won all three meetings
"It was really important with the three-point shooters. We saw Trevor (Ariza) vs. Houston, but in the third quarter we didn't want to get them started." -- Raptors G DeMar DeRozan
Up next: The Wizards left immediately after the game to head to Atlanta for Wednesday's game at the Hawks (CSN, 7:30 p.m. ET).