(Toronto, On) The Toronto Raptors continue their four-game homestand and win two in a row, beating the Washington Wizards 114-104.
The Raptors are 37-38, and 25-14 at Scotiabank Arena. Toronto is once again, one game under .500.
With Scottie Barnes and Precious Achiuwa returning, and Bradley Beal, Monte Morris, and Kyle Kuzma being sidelined, the Raptors looked to take advantage of the Wizards’ lack of roster depth.
The Raptors opened the game with a pair of three pointers from OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet, leading to an early 11-2 lead. They played team basketball, swinging the ball on the perimeter and getting everyone involved on offense. It was all Toronto as they outscored Washington 37-21 in the first quarter. Anunoby led the team with an incredible 18 points in the quarter.
During the second quarter, the Wizards showed resilience, going on a 9-0 run led by Kristaps Porzingis and Corey Kispert. Kispert proved that he is more than a three-point specialist, getting paint touches and defending well on the inside. The Wizards cut the deficit to single digits, however the Raptors went on another run and led it 63-46 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Raptors looked flat and seemed to lose focus. The Wizards started the quarter by going perfect from three-point range, hitting four threes. Sixth man Johnny Davis came into the game and completely changed the pace, controlling the Wizards offense and shooting well off the dribble. Fred VanVleet paced the Raptors, scoring 10 points to end the quarter. The Wizards did a complete 180 and outscored the Raptors 38 to 24. Despite that, the Raptors led 87-84 after 3.
The Raptors went on a 13-3 run in the final quarter led by Anunoby and Scottie Barnes. They earned 23 second chance points and went on to control the fourth quarter and win their 9th of the last 10 games at home.
The Raptors are at their best when all five starters score in double digits. Anunoby had an all-around game, scoring 29 points, eight assists, and three blocks. VanVleet also torched the Wizards defense, amassing 28 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and three steals. Pascal Siakam turned it up during the second half and finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Barnes made his return to the starting lineup and dropped 13 points, five assists, and six rebounds. Jakob Poeltl held his own against a lengthy Kristaps Porzingis and finished with 12 points, and 12 rebounds. Calmness and composure were the main keys to the game for the Raptors as they remained consistent on both sides of the court for much of the game.
Although Washington was short-handed in this matchup, they put up a fight and had excellent performances from their bench. Porzingis shot lights out, scoring 26 points and four threes on 9/17 shooting. Kispert continues his excellent stretch of games, dropping 19 points and five threes. Deni Avdija got into the mix and flirted with a triple-double as he had 15 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. Davis came off the bench as a sixth man and had the best game of his career, scoring 15 points, and four assists on five-of–eight shooting. The Wizards came back in the third quarter but were unable to hang around due to the lack of depth.
The Wizards are headed towards another lottery appearance and the identity for this team remains a mystery for next season. Although there are lots of unanswered questions regarding Beal’s future and free agency, the Wizards have built a solid young core. Avdija, Gafford, Kispert, and Davis as of late have built on their performances this year and earned more playing time in the rotation. Since getting drafted in 2022, Davis hasn’t played much in the NBA due to injuries. With his recent play, this can help his case of becoming the main guard off the bench or even slotting in the starting lineup next season. Surrounding players who complement each other in all aspects of the game is the main goal for the Wizards in the off-season.
The play-in race has intensified as the Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, and Chicago Bulls have identical records. With seven games remaining for the Raptors, every game can determine the outcome of the season. As Will Barton went down before halftime with an ankle injury and Gary Trent Jr. remains out, the Raps are hoping to be at full strength to conclude the season.
The Raptors end their final game of the homestand when they welcome Kyle Lowry, and the Miami Heat to Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday, March 28.
Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards boxscore click HERE.
OG Anunoby – 29 PTS 8 REB 3 BLK
Fred VanVleet – 28 PTS 4 REB 7 AST
Pascal Siakam – 19 PTS 11 REB 2 AST
Kristaps Porzingis – 26 PTS 6 REB 4 3PT
Corey Kispert – 19 PTS 9 REB 7 AST
Johnny Davis – 15 PTS 4 REB 2 AST