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Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan looks on during the closing seconds of Game 4 at Capital One Arena, in Washington, on April 22, 2018.Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Raptors left Toronto last Thursday with a tidy and commanding 2-0 series lead over the Washington Wizards. Now, they’re going home with it tangled up in a 2-2 tie.

Despite a 35-point performance from DeMar DeRozan, the top-seeded Raps dropped a second straight road game, this one 106-98. His team was turnover-plagued once again, though, with 18, even after vowing a bigger commitment to ball control.

Washington’s flashy all-stars Bradley Beal (31 points) and John Wall (27 points and 14 assists) were mighty once again.

The Raps, who had thrived on three-point shooting all season, shot 7-of-18 from deep on Sunday night, turning down countless good shots and making the franchise-high 16 threes they shot in Game 1 feel like a distant memory.

Kyle Lowry did make four of his six attempts from beyond the arc, part of his 19-point, seven-assist performance.

“We didn’t completely stick with our offence tonight, but it was a learning lesson,” said Lowry. “They protected home and now we have to go back home and protect home.”

The Wizards came into the night with a seven-game win streak in home playoff games, dating back to last season. But it was the Raptors who jumped out to an early 11-point lead with all starters contributing buckets. Jonas Valanciunas picked up two early fouls and went to the bench a little early – one of them a flagrant as the seven-footer thrust his arms around a runaway Wall mid-layup.

The Raptors continued to make inexplicable turnovers – DeRozan and Ibaka the worst offenders with four each.

When Toronto’s bench players entered the game, Fred VanVleet wasn’t among them for another game, as he continued to heal the shoulder he injured in the final game of the regular season. The valuable reserve point guard addressed the issue with reporters before the game, as a small portable ultrasound machine provided treatments to the injury.

“The problem for me was that I can shoot through the pain, but passing, dribbling, running, fighting through screens, a little bit of everything was just uncomfortable and the pain is probably not the problem, just the lack of range, and strength,” said VanVleet. “I’ve just got to get a point where I can do those things comfortably... me at 50 per cent, that won’t help anybody. But I tried [in Game 2]. It didn’t go as planned. Now I’ve got to take the opportunity to get back right.”

It meant only four – not five – reserves would take the floor together at once for the Raptors, with either Lowry or DeRozan out there with them. In fact, Casey would play only nine players all night.

DeRozan would soldier to a 15-point half on 3-of-11 shooting through collapsing defenders, earning his paycheck by drawing contact to earn free throws.

OG Anunoby suffered a minor sprain to his ankle and limped to the locker room for treatment in the second. He returned with this team after halftime, Toronto up 51-40.

The Wiz came out furiously chopping at Toronto’s lead and tied up the game within mere minutes, spearheaded by an eight-point outburst by Otto Porter Jr. Fans inside Capital One Arena – which included D.C-area celebs such as Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and Washington Redskins linebacker Josh Norman – bellowed while flapping their white and red “DC Family” rally towels.

The game remained intense and close. Wiz fans alternated ear-splitting celebratory moments for their team with the small but loud pockets of traveling Raptors fans who leapt to distinguish themselves after every Toronto bucket. DeRozan played the entire third and treated his fans to a 14-point quarter, while Beal drew deafening applause with a parade of three-pointers.

The fourth began with the teams tied 80-80. The Raps – whose bench hasn’t had its same high-scoring impact the past three games – were uplifted by the big and physical minutes provided late in the game by Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam.

The teams played tug-of-war for the lead, as Wall repeatedly pumped his chest and thrust his hand in the air imploring the Washington faithful to increase the thunderous noise as he led the way with acrobatic scoring. Wall’s 10-point quarter would fuel Washington, while Toronto’s usually quick ball-moving offence got stagnant and reverted to isolation situations.

“Down the stretch at some point we have to keep our composure and execute. We missed some shots we normally make,” said Casey. “I thought DeMar was terrific, taking it to the rim, getting to where he wanted to go. But we turned down some good looks that we normally step into.”

DeRozan was disappointed in some of his choices during the fourth quarter, in which he went 2-of-8.

“Myself I took some bad shots that led to them getting out in transition and some easy buckets. We put them on the free throw line and they executed and we couldn’t get a stop and couldn’t get a bucket.” said DeRozan. “I took some bad shots I would like to have back, but we just have to watch film, understand what we have to do, me and [Kyle] understand how much better we have to be especially in late-game situations.”

The Raps are now 0-4 in club history in playoff games they entered leading a series 2-1.

The heated best-of-seven series resumes at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre on Wednesday for Game 5, and then back in Washington on Friday.

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