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Toronto Raptors

Four takeaways as the Raptors hold off the Wizards in double overtime thriller

Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard (Getty Images)

A win is a win, and Toronto (33-12) was able to hold off a furious second half from Washington (18-26) and a 43-point triple-double from Bradley Beal to earn its fifth consecutive win in double overtime.

Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Raptors with 41 points, 11 rebounds and five assists while Serge Ibaka posted a monster 24-point, 19-rebound double-double and knocked down the triple that put Toronto ahead for good in the second and final overtime period.

Here are four takeaways from the double-overtime thriller…

A sigh of relief

Despite leading by as many as 23 points in the game and 16 points in the fourth quarter, it took two extra periods and some late-game heroics for the Raptors to escape with the win.

Washington put forth a big fourth quarter, outscoring Toronto 40-26 in the final frame and used a 10-4 run capped by a 3-pointer from Beal to tie things up at 124 and force overtime.

Toronto can breathe a major sigh of relief as it ran the risk of spoiling what was a dominant performance through three quarters with a loss. Washington did not even get its first lead of the game until the 3:30 mark in double overtime.

Kawhi Leonard often took matters into his own hands during extra time, playing all 10 minutes and scoring 10 of the Raptors' 16 points. The other six? A free throw from Danny Green, two free throws from Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka's game-winning 3-pointer.

A loss on Sunday afternoon would have been detrimental in halting the team's ever-growing momentum - especially with a huge game against the Boston Celtics coming next.

The streak continues

With the win, the Raptors have now won four consecutive games since their uninspiring performance in San Antonio. This is the fourth win streak of four or more games this season for Toronto, who continues strengthen its hold of the East's No. 1 seed.

Over the past four games, the team is averaging 121.8 points and 28.0 assists while shooting 37.5 percent from 3-point range and its bench is averaging 42.8 points while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from deep. The streak has seen the Raptors post an Offensive Rating of 110.4 and a Defensive Rating of 102.7 for an impressive Net Rating of 7.7

As Wednesday's big showdown in Boston against the Celtics looms, picking up the win on Sunday is huge for the Raptors as they get set to enter into a tough road environment with the momentum of a win streak on their side. Although Boston has struggled lately, Toronto has not won at TD Garden since Dec. 2016.

Bradley Beal

Lately, things have been rough for the Wizards, who have dealt with John Wall's season-ending heel procedure and serious injuries to Dwight Howard and Markieff Morris that have caused the two to miss extended time.

All-Star guard Bradley Beal has helped his team remain afloat.

Beal's importance to the Wizards was on full display Sunday afternoon as the team got down big early after the All-Star started the game making just one of his first nine field goal attempts. As he improved his play, Washington's chances significantly increased.

The seven-year veteran spearheaded the Wizards' rally, finishing the night with his second career-high triple-double of 43 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, going 16-for-27 from the field after his rough 1-for-9 start. Beal also shot 6-for-12 from deep - a big reason Washington sank a franchise-record 19 triples on the day.

In seven games this month, Beal is averaging 31.3 points, 6.9 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game. While the Wizards deal with injuries, Sunday served as a reminder that with Bradley Beal leading the way, they will always have a chance.

Fast Start(s)

Had they not been for coming out of the gates strong, Toronto wouldn't have been able to build such a cushion to withstand Washington's furious second half.

In the opening frame, the Raptors opened things up on a 9-0 run, holding the Wizards without a bucket for nearly the first three minutes of action. After one quarter, Toronto led 36-21.

Washington recalibrated in the second quarter, outscoring Toronto 22-10 in the final eight minutes to head into halftime down just 11 points after trailing by 23.

The Raptors came out of halftime on a mission once again.

Toronto opened the third quarter on a 9-3 run to get its lead back out to 17 points and caused Washington to burn a timeout early on in the third. The Raptors led by as many as 18 points in the third frame and entered the fourth quarter with a 98-84 lead.

While the big lead was blown in the fourth, Toronto continues to show the importance of starting fast. Coming out of halftime so furiously means that the team was able to adequately make adjustments based on Nick Nurse's game planning.

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