TORONTO - Another puzzling performance by point guard Kyle Lowry. A second dominant victory by the Washington Wizards.
And by the time the final buzzer sounded on Toronto's 117-106 loss to Washington on Tuesday, the same giddy fans that ushered the team onto the Air Canada Centre court with earsplitting applause were booing the struggling Raptors.
John Wall had 26 points and 17 assists, while Bradley Beal poured in 28 points to send the Wizards home to Washington with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series.
"I know we can do better," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "I see us getting knocked down, going to the basket. I don't see their guys hitting the floor. I see them waltz in and waving at us, laughing at us going to the basket."
NBA Sixth Man Lou Williams and DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 20 points apiece, Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Patrick Patterson finished with 15.
But the Raptors were hamstrung by another horrible night from Lowry, who finished with just six points and four assists, and sat large chunks of the game in foul trouble. In Game 1, he seven points before fouling out.
"I dunno," Lowry said, when asked where he feels his game is at. "I'm not really getting any clean looks right now, and even missed a couple free throws. But I can't dictate my game with just offence, I can't even stay on the floor, I've got to find a way to stay on the floor right now."
Lowry sustained a left shin contusion at the 5:56 mark of the fourth quarter and did not return to the game. He will be re-evaluated Wednesday.
On the heels of a dreadful shooting performance in a 93-86 Game 1 loss, the Raptors knew Tuesday that they would be better. Problem was, Washington was as well. Much better.
The Raptors raced out to a 10-point lead and looked strong through the first quarter. But the Wizards roared back, and led 97-75 heading into the fourth quarter in front of a disgruntled crowd at the Air Canada Centre that included popular rapper Drake — wearing a leather bomber jacket bearing a huge Raptors logo.
There were thousands more unhappy fans outside, who braved the blustery weather to watch the game on the big screen in Maple Leaf Square.
"I feel for our fans. We have the greatest fans, passionate fans," Casey said. "And, that's where the pride factor has to come in. The guys have to go out and play with pride for the team first and then for our fans."
When the Wizards went up by 23 early in the fourth, dozens of fans headed for the exit. The Raptors would finally rally, cutting the deficit to 10 points on a three-pointer by Vasquez with 3:23 to go.
But that was as close as Toronto would get, and when Marcin Gortat put Washington back up by 13 with three minutes to play, the arena all but emptied.
"You think we're not frustrated?" Williams said of the fans' booing. "I understand they spend their money to come (watch) the game. We come here and prepare and work. Unfortunately it just hasn't gone our way."
"We have to play with passion," added Vasquez. "We have to play like we love the game. We've done it before. It's playoff time. Playoffs mean you have to play with everything we you got. I don't think we did."
The series has had some peripheral drama since before the first ball was thrown up, starting with Paul Pierce's comments about how the Raptors don't have the "it" factor.
Beal waded into the fray Tuesday night in a halftime television interview saying: "They think that we're some punks. They think they can push around. But we're not rolling."
They didn't. And for all the Raptors' talk the past two seasons about playing with a chip on their shoulders, the Wizards' seemed to have a bigger one.
"We have to still play with that chip on our shoulder because they're not going to back down, they're not going to stop coming at us," Beal said. "We have to do our best to protect our home court and close it out one game at a time."
The Raptors raced out to a 10-point lead on a step-back three by Terrence Ross less than four minutes into the game, and went into the second quarter leading 31-26.
Then disaster struck. Lowry had to sit less than three minutes into the second with three fouls, and the Wizards promptly went on a 25-8 run to head into the dressing room at halftime leading 60-49.
The misery continued in the third as the Wizards shot a whopping 77 per cent, ending the frame with five consecutive three-pointers.
Game 3 is Friday and Game 4 is Sunday.