Raptors top Wizards for 9th straight win

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[January 27, 2016]  TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors are playing like a team that has found its identity and they are taking it out on teams that are still searching for theirs.

Led by 29 points from all-star point guard Kyle Lowry, the Raptors equaled their franchise best nine-game winning streak Tuesday by defeating the Washington Wizards 106-89.

The Raptors, who also won nine straight in 2002, swept the four-game season series with the Wizards.

"When this team is aggressive, we're pretty good," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "When we're not, it's been proven this year, when we are back and soft we give up a lot of points."

The Raptors, who also won nine straight in 2002, swept the four-game season series with the Wizards.

Lowry twisted his wrist late in the game on defense.

"They are going to take X-rays and see what it is," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "He says there isn't anything wrong, we just want to make sure.

"I got caught in a screen and I'm fine," Lowry said.

The Wizards aren't so fine.

"We're trying to find an identity right now," said Washington reserve forward Jared Dudley, who had four points and four rebounds. "Our identity and style is somewhat changing and we have to come together and have practice time to work on that.

"In the first half we did get stops. We didn't get down in transition, we need to get easy buckets. ... and we want spacing. We're not getting enough stops to be able run and offensively we have to work a little bit on our spacing. Our spacing was pretty poor in the second half."

Guard DeMar DeRozan added 17 points for Toronto. Forward Terrence Ross contributed 15 points off the bench, and center Jonas Valanciunas scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Reserve guard Cory Joseph chipped in with 10 points and six assists.

The Raptors led by as many as 14 points in the second quarter, only to have the Wizards tie the game in the third before Toronto pulled out to a 19-point advantage in the fourth quarter. The Raptors swept the four-game season series between the teams.

Guard John Wall led Washington with 18 points and 14 assists. Forward Otto Porter added 15 points, guard Gary Neal scored 14 points off the bench, and forward Nene scored 10 for the Wizards, who have lost two in a row.

The Raptors had a 48-35 advantage in rebounds but made 18 turnovers, seven more than the Wizards.

"Our transition defense was nonexistent," Casey said. "I don't know but for whatever reason we are in a malaise with our transition defense. But again we found a way to win."

DeRozan said it is a good sign that the Raptors were able to win without playing their best game.

"It says a lot," he said. "It just lets you know it's scary if we get rolling on both ends and we play a complete game. Anything is possible."

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The Raptors took a 24-18 lead after scoring the final six points of the first quarter, including a floating jumper by Joseph that beat the buzzer.

Toronto (30-15) had a 14-point lead with 8:26 to play in the second quarter after Valanciunas made consecutive layups. The Wizards (20-23) trimmed the margin to one on a running layup by Wall with 1:06 to play in the first half. The Raptors took a 53-50 lead into the intermission.

The Wizards tied the game at 55 on Porter's steal and fastbreak dunk with 10:08 to play in the third quarter.

According to Wall, the Wizards were able to make the comeback because, "We got stops."

"The key is getting stops," he said. "Their team is pretty good half-court defensively and having all those weapons you have to get stops, try and put pace into the game. Our defense is terrible right now. Probably the worst defense in the league right now."

The Raptors ended the tie and were up by seven points before the Wizards trimmed the lead to two on Neal's floating layup with 3:45 to play in the third quarter. Toronto regained a seven-point advantage on five straight points from Ross. The Raptors led 77-70 after three quarters.

The Raptors opened a 14-point lead with seven minutes left in the game on Lowry's 3-pointer.

DeRozan made a 3-foot jumper with 4:40 to play to give the Raptors a 16-point cushion.

NOTES: Wizards G Bradley Beal (broken nose, concussion) did not accompany the team to Toronto after taking a forearm in the face Monday during the second quarter of the loss to the Boston Celtics. Beal, who was playing his fifth game after returning from a stress reaction in his right fibula that cost him 16 games, is listed as day to day. ...The Wizards swept the Raptors in four games in the first round of the playoffs last year, but the Raptors entered Tuesday having won the first three meetings between the teams this season. Tuesday was their final regular-season meeting. ... The Wizards return home to play the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. The Raptors play the sixth game of seven in a row at home on Thursday against the New York Knicks.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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