Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/23

Game 1: Tuesday, November 23rd
Game 2: Sunday, November 28th
Game 3: Friday, January 21st
Game 4: Friday, February 4th

Raptors 109

(17-24, 3-19 away)

Wizards 118

(23-15, 15-5 home)

    7:00 PM ET, January 21, 2005

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    TOR 20 22 35 32109
    WSH 35 30 28 25118

    Top Performers

    Tor: J. Rose 32 Pts, 5 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    WSH: J. Dixon 26 Pts, 1 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Washington's balance helps withstand Raptors' surge

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jared Jeffries drove down the lane for an emphatic first-quarter dunk, then, in a sweeping gesture, pointed at Washington's injured co-captain sitting at the end of the bench.

    The Wizards stopped moping about Larry Hughes' injury and instead let him inspire them to one of their most important wins of the season Friday night. Six players scored a dozen points or more, and a two-game losing streak ended with a 118-109 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

    "Tonight was the night for us to really come back and say, 'Look, we lost a really good player, but we've got to pick it up and still play," Jeffries said.

    Antawn Jamison had 26 points and 13 rebounds, and Juan Dixon scored 26 as the Wizards raced to a 15-point first-quarter lead, shot 56 percent in the first half, then withstood a Jalen Rose-led rally in the second half.

    Hughes, the surprising Wizards' best all-around player, was on the bench for the first time since breaking his thumb in last Saturday's victory over Phoenix. The Wizards had been blown out in two games since at San Antonio and Dallas.

    After those losses, the Wizards spoke about coming to grips with losing Hughes for four to six weeks. Hughes, concerned about his teammates' play, gave them a serious pep talk at Friday's shootaround.

    "He gave us a speech and told us we need to get back on our feet," said Gilbert Arenas, who scored 23 points and made 17 of 20 free throws. "We can sit here and sulk all day. Sulk don't give you no wins."

    While the Wizards were celebrating, Sam Mitchell was launching a conspiracy theory. The Raptors coach said after the game outside people were "trying to coach" his players, a byproduct of the team's recent turnaround.

    "What I'm saying is that as you have success, you have people that it's not their job to coach the players, and they're trying to give them too much information," said Mitchell, whose team had won three straight and eight of 10.

    Mitchell declined to give details, other than to say the people are outside the organization and that he was deliberately using the media as a platform to counter them. Asked if the people know who they are, he said: "They probably will after this."

    Rose, who scored a season-high 32 points, sounded as if had no idea what the coach was talking about.

    "I don't know who it is, either," Rose said. "I've been around too long for somebody to tell me what to do out there on the court. They're too worried about asking for money. They ain't trying to give advice about basketball."

    Whatever the reason, the Raptors missed their first nine shots and played with little passion and even less defense in the first half. The Wizards scored a season-high 65 first-half points to take a 23-point lead at the break.

    Rose, who has been unhappy about being the subject of trade rumors as well as his demotion from the starting lineup, started on the bench again. He played the entire second half, scored 23 points and helped cut down a 26-point.

    Washington's lead hovered between 11 and 14 for much of the fourth quarter. The Raptors didn't cut the lead to single digits until Chris Bosh's basket with 1 second remaining.

    Rose wasn't able to complete the comeback because of Dixon, who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter.

    But instead of talking about a comeback that failed, the Raptors spent much of the time after the game scratching their heads over their coach's new theory.

    "This is the first time we've heard anything about that," forward Morris Peterson said. "I think everybody in this locker room are professionals and what got us here is believing in ourselves. People on the sideline or wherever, I always tune them out. If some of my friends try to tell me how to play, I say: 'OK then, why don't you come out here and do it?' That's what I've always done."

    Game notes

    Dixon returned to his sixth-man role after starting for Hughes during the Texas road trip. Jarvis Hayes moved up to the starting lineup and scored 16. ... The Wizards have won seven straight at home. ... The Raptors are 3-19 on the road. ... Bosh's franchise-record streak of nine consecutive double-doubles came to an end. He had 16 points and eight rebounds. ... Wizards forward Kwame Brown had his ailing ankle re-examined and will miss at least another three weeks.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 109 118
    FGM-FGA 38-92 (.413) 40-82 (.488)
    3PM-3PA 9-29 (.310) 7-23 (.304)
    FTM-FTA 24-27 (.889) 31-41 (.756)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-45 12-46
    Assists 21 23
    Turnovers 12 14
    Steals 5 5
    Blocks 3 7
    Fast Break Points 14 14
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 28 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 29

    Top Performers

    Jalen Rose Rose
    Points: 32
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Juan Dixon Dixon
    Points: 26
    Reb: 1
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0