The victory put Washington (31-36) just a half-game behind Indiana for the coveted No. 9 spot. Their magic number to eliminate the Raptors (27-40) stands at two. Chicago (27-39) also remains in the hunt.
“We know what’s at stake,” Wizards Coach Scott Brooks said. “Last night [against Milwaukee] was hard. Last night was a very emotional game. . . . To bounce back to play against a team that’s desperate, fighting for their playoff lives, we knew they were going to bring it. We bounced back, and we played hard, and we didn’t have our good stuff offensively but managed to get the win.”
Beal added, “Dominoes are falling in our favor a little bit.”
Beal took over beginning midway through the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points down the stretch. The Raptors fought as if their season was on the line, getting a career-high 44 points from Pascal Siakam and a game-tying three-pointer from Fred VanVleet with two seconds left in regulation.
Beal finished with 28 points despite being double- and triple-teamed much of the night.
“Soon as I walked out the locker room they had a guy on me, so to speak,” said Beal, who told teammates not even to look for him. “It was tough. They ran a box-and-one the majority of the game. I haven’t seen a box-and-one since probably the last time we played them and in high school before that. . . . It was effective. It kind of kept me out of the game. Kept me from touching the ball. I kind of had to be a decoy and continue to move around without the ball.
“It was tough, but eventually I knew if I trusted my teammates to be able to make plays and knock down shots, everything else would open up for me. And it did down the stretch.”
Raul Neto scored a career-high 25 points, making a career-high five three-pointers. Robin Lopez chipped in a season-high 24 off the bench.
Russell Westbrook was quiet for much of the night, but he turned it on in the fourth quarter and had 13 points, 17 rebounds and 17 assists before fouling out in overtime. He now has 180 career triple-doubles, leaving him one shy of Oscar Robertson’s NBA record.
“I always say when you play with a guy like Brad, the whole defense is going to be on him,” Neto said. “And we have Russ, too, where it’s kind of the same thing. So I always try to come in with the mentality of being aggressive and taking the shots when they’re open because I think that’s what our team needs.
“It was definitely hard on him, but I’m glad I was able to help with those threes and kind of open the floor and give him a little more space.”
The Wizards’ previous win over Toronto came Feb. 1, 2018.
Siakam’s career night included 11 rebounds and seven assists. VanVleet added 22 points, Gary Trent Jr. had 25, and Khem Birch tallied 17.
The Wizards used a 20-7 stretch in the third quarter, capped by a Neto three-pointer, to tie the game at 78. The teams went back and forth the rest of the way, with neither team leading by more than six.
Toronto took a 60-51 lead into halftime. Trent and Birch accounted for 11 points during a 13-1 stretch that pushed the lead to 60-47, tied for the biggest margin of the game. The Wizards went more than six minutes without a field goal during the stretch.
Toronto clearly had a game plan to swarm Beal and make others pick up the scoring load. Defenders checked Beal as soon as he crossed half-court and face-guarded him at times to deny him the ball. The league’s second-leading scorer was held without a point in the second quarter as three defenders regularly ran at him.
Davis Bertans, who finished with 14 points, started the second half as Brooks searched for more offense with Toronto making Beal its defensive focus.