February 19, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) shoots the ball over Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (3) in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Raptors won 96-88. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Raptors Rout Wizards In Beal's Return To Starting Lineup

With the possibility looming that one or more Wizards could be on their way out of DC in the next few days, coach Randy Wittman’s squad nevertheless returned to action Tuesday, falling to the new-look Toronto Raptors at the Verizon Center, 96-88.

The Raptors’ duo of Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan was dominant from start to finish, as the two combined for 48 points in the game on 19-for-43 shooting.  Gay added eight rebounds in the contest, and guard Kyle Lowry dished out 10 assists to lead the visitors.  Toronto now extends its win streak to five, and the trade for Gay from Memphis seems to be looking better and better by the game.

While the Wizards slip to 11-15 at home and 15-37 overall as a result of the loss, there was a bright spot even through the poor overall team performance: the return of rookie Bradley Beal to the starting lineup.  Before All-Star weekend, Beal had been easing his way back into the rotation after suffering through an injury to his right wrist, but a 25-point outbreak last night definitely put health concerns to rest.  Although Beal performed well, Washington was certainly hindered by a weak performance from John Wall, who shot just 8.3 percent from the floor to finish with nine points in the game, as well as Nene, who made just 3-of-11 shots himself.  If they hope to have a chance to make the playoffs, regardless of a Trade Deadline move tomorrow, all of the Wizards main stars are going to have to contribute at least double-digits night in and night out.

Meanwhile, an important story to keep an eye on is the deterioration of Wizards guard Jordan Crawford, who is looking more and more like the one who will be dealt tomorrow if GM Ernie Grunfeld decides to make a trade.  After unquestionably being Washington’s go-to scorer earlier in the season, Crawford has indeed entered Randy Wittman’s doghouse.  Last night’s contest was the fourth straight in which the Xavier product failed to enter the game entirely, and Crawford even flung his jersey into the crowd in frustration when leaving the court as the game ended.

As a reminder, stay tuned for more Wizards news here at All Over the Hill!

Tags: Bradley Beal John Wall Nene Raptors Toronto Raptors Washington Wizards Wizards

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