NBA: Toronto Raptors hold off Washington Wizards to earn 4th straight win

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry dribbles around Washington Wizards guard Admiral Schofield during their NBA game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Dec 20, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Kyle Lowry scored 26 points - including a vital three-pointer with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter - and the Toronto Raptors held on to defeat the visiting Washington Wizards 122-118 in the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Friday night (Dec 20).

Serge Ibaka added 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who have won four straight.

The Raptors were without starters Pascal Siakam (groin), Norman Powell (shoulder) and Marc Gasol (hamstring). All three were injured in the road win against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.

Toronto's OG Anunoby scored 18 points, Fred VanVleet also had 18 points and added nine rebounds and eight assists, while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 14 points and Patrick McCaw scored 11. Lowry also dished out nine assists.

VanVleet (knee contusion) was back in the starting line-up after missing five games.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 37 points. Ish Smith added 26 points, Isaiah Thomas had 13, Troy Brown Jr. 11 and Davis Bertans 10 for Washington, losers of two in a row.

The Raptors led by 16 points at half-time and took an 11-point advantage into the fourth quarter. Smith's three-pointer tied the score at 107-107 with 5:21 to play. McCaw's three-pointer put Toronto back into the lead with 3:02 left and Lowry's three-pointer increased the lead to six. But Brown's three-pointer cut the lead to two with one second to play. VanVleet made two free throws to clinch the result.

The Raptors raced to a 40-23 lead after the first quarter.

The Wizards drew within 10 points, but the Raptors led 68-52 at half-time when Anunoby made a running dunk to complete the scoring after Ibaka blocked a shot.

Washington scored the first six points of the second half, trimming the lead to 10. But Ibaka's three-pointer with 6:40 left in the third quarter bumped the lead to 15. Beal pulled the Wizards within nine points on a jumper and a free throw. Hollis-Jefferson ended the third-quarter scoring with a layup and the Raptors led 96-85.

Smith's layup early in the fourth quarter cut the lead to eight. Beal's three-pointer with 7:06 remaining in the fourth reduced the lead to five. Admiral Schofield added a three-pointer to cut the lead to two.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.