After a stretch of 13 losses in 14 games in March, the Toronto Raptors are in desperate need of victories to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff chase. Nick Nurse’s team began April with a wild, 53-point victory over the Golden State Warriors but, on Monday, the Raptors faced a more competitive situation against the Washington Wizards. In fact, Toronto trailed by double-digits as the fourth quarter arrived, but the Raptors erased that deficit for good, and they did so in memorable fashion when Gary Trent Jr. knocked down a buzzer-beating three-pointer to secure the victory.
Gary Trent Jr. for the win!!!
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) April 6, 2021
Trent Jr. was forced to go coast to coast, eventually getting to the top of the key with space and time to fire in rhythm. From there, he is a career 40 percent three-point shooter, so it was no surprise to see it fall. He finished with 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting, with no bigger moment than the final shot.
Russell Westbrook gave the Wizards the lead with a three-pointer of his own with 41 seconds left and, when Pascal Siakam committed a charge on the ensuing possession, Washington appeared to be in good shape. Raul Neto then missed a shot that would’ve given the Wizards a three-point lead with 5.5 seconds left, leaving the door open.
Speaking of Neto, he can be seen flying to the floor while Trent Jr. makes his way into shooting position. It is certainly possible that Trent Jr. pushed off but, well, it seems as if Neto tried his very best to sell a call and that effort was not rewarded by the officials. He even seems to express dismay after the final buzzer, but it was simply too late.
With the win, the Raptors improve to 20-30 on the season. They still face an uphill climb, but Toronto also has the feel of a dangerous team when healthy, and they are now just one game out of the final play-in spot (No. 10) in the East.