What. A. Game.
The Washington Wizards move to 31-36 on the season after earning a two-point overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors, who fall to 27-40. Now trailing the Wizards by four games in the standings with just five games to play, the Raptors are all but mathematically eliminated from reaching the Play-In Tournament.
Pascal Siakam tied a career-high with 44 points to lead the Raptors, while Bradley Beal came on strong late to lead the way for the Wizards with 28 points (on 11-for-22 shooting).
Here are some takeaways from the buzzer, as Toronto falls in its first overtime game of the season…
A lengthy injury report
For the Raptors, it was a similar story but a different game, as six players were ruled inactive. Starters Kyle Lowry (rest) and OG Anunoby (injury recovery) were joined by Aron Baynes, Chris Boucher, Yuta Watanabe and Paul Watson as players that would not suit up.
The decision to rest Lowry in a key game was initially a confounding one, head coach Nick Nurse explained pregame that he "Bobby (Webster) and Masai (Ujiri) talk about who we wanna play and who we wanna see and who we're going to evaluate.
"That's what it comes down to and that's where we are with it tonight."
With the absences, the Raptors went with a lineup of Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., Stanley Johnson, Pascal Siakam and Khem Birch to start.
The Play-In picture
We knew it would be impacted regardless of the outcome, as tonight saw the Raptors take on the Wizards, the Chicago Bulls play the Charlotte Hornets and the Indiana Pacers in action as well.
Here's how things look through the final in Tampa.
A spicy 40 piece
After coming one-point shy of the plateau on Sunday, it was a 40-point night for Siakam. A career-high-tying 44 points, to be exact.
Siakam did it efficiently, finishing the night shooting 17-for-28 from the field and finished the game shooting 8-for-11 from the charity stripe, though a few of his free throw misses proved to be crucial. He also pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds and dished out a game-high seven assists.
All in 42 minutes of action.
It's an encouraging reminder of just all that Siakam is capable of doing for this team on both ends of the floor, even when they're very shorthanded.
Bet on Yourself
This game doesn't reach overtime if it isn't for VanVleet.
He finished shooting just 7-for-25 but one of the seven makes was a BIG one.
FRED VANVLEET SENDS IT TO OT! 💥 #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/xsD4noC7fD- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) May 7, 2021
It's also worth noting again that tonight marked Toronto's first overtime game of the season. 67 games in.
Toronto's textbook possession
The Raptors social team called it ART.
This is the perfect example for passing up "good" to get "great" and the type of possession you show to young players looking to learn the game.
This sequence is ART pic.twitter.com/Dpcp6xe6q4- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 6, 2021
Trent doesn't miss a beat
As alluded to before, Toronto's trade deadline acquisition made his return to the lineup after missing six games with a leg contusion.
Back in a starting role, he looked as smooth as ever. In 36 minutes, the 22-year-old finished with 25 points, shooting 8-for-16 from the field, 5-for-10 from beyond the arc and a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
And another note on Trent's start, ESPN's Bobby Marks noted that in earning his 36th start this season, the 22-year-old's qualifying offer goes from $2.1 million to $4.7 million this offseason.
Another night, another triple-double for 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook.
For the 34th time this season and the 180th time of his career, Westbrook achieved the feat, tonight fouling out after 43 minutes with 13 points, 17 rebounds and 17 assists although he shot just 5-for-19 from the field and committed seven turnovers.
The Wizards are now 20-14/19-15 when Westbrook records a triple-double this season and he's now one away from tying Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson for first all-time and two away from being the NBA's all-time leader.
Toronto's homestand continues as it is back in action on Saturday, May 8 to host Jonas Valanciunas and the Memphis Grizzlies.
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