The Toronto Raptors pushed their win streak to five as they defeated the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night at Capital One Arena, 109-100. The win moves the Raptors to 6-3 on the season and 4-0 on the road.
Toronto was without rookie sensation Scottie Barnes for the second straight game, but it didn’t seem to affect the offensive flow. The Raptors have taken a true next-man-up approach, and Svi Mykhailiuk in particular has been excellent in Barnes’ absence.
The first quarter was tightly contested as both teams eased their way into proceedings, with Fred VanVleet and a few others knocking down shots early. The second quarter was where the Raptors offence really started to catch fire, and the Wizards had little to no answer for the defensive looks being thrown at them. The Raptors took an 11 point lead into the half, and managed to keep it throughout the third and into the final frame, before the Wizards went on a run. Bradley Beal in particular got hot down the stretch, but the Raptors were able to stay composed and extend their lead, eventually walking away with the 9-point victory.
VanVleet was the main source of offence for Toronto on Wednesday night, finishing with 33 points on 13/22 from the floor, to go along with 3 rebounds and 6 assists. OG Anunoby played well yet again in a 21 point effort that included multiple isolation buckets that we hadn’t seen from Anunoby in previous seasons. Both Gary Trent Jr. and Mykhailiuk scored 15 points in the win, and Canadian Khem Birch had another impressive performance off the bench with 9 points and 5 rebounds.
Bradley Beal was the only Wizards starter able to get anything going in Wednesday’s loss, scoring 25 points on 8/18 shooting with 7 rebounds and 7 assists. The rest of the starting lineup for Washington scored 12 points or less, including a 2-point, 1/10 night from Kyle Kuzma (went out with a forearm contusion). Deni Avdija, Montrezl Harrell and Raul Neto all scored in double figures for the Wizards off the bench, salvaging the game and keeping it from being a blowout.
The Raptors had one of their best performances of the season from deep range, as they took consistent high quality shots in the win. Although by a smaller margin than the previous few games, they won the turnover battle once again, and looked effective on both the break and in their half court offence.
The Canadian trio of Boucher, Birch and Dalano Banton were the main men off of the bench as Nick Nurse utilized another short rotation. Malachi Flynn and Champagnie came in for short 3-minute stints, but other than that it was down to the Canadians and the starters, who all played exceptionally well. Even Precious Achiuwa was excellent on the glass despite his recent struggles shooting the basketball.
Toronto have done a complete 360 from the first week of the season, and are in great shape considering their best player hasn’t suited up for a game yet. An NBA season is all about highs and lows, and the Raptors have hit one of their highs at the onset of the campaign as they continue to dominate early in the season; even more impressively, most of that damage has come on the road.
Both the Raptors and Wizards will be back in action on Friday as Toronto returns home to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, while Washington hosts the Memphis Grizzlies.
VanVleet – 33 PTS 3 REB 6 AST
Anunoby – 21 PTS 5 REB 1 AST
Trent Jr. – 15 PTS 5 REB 3 AST
Beal – 25 PTS 7 REB 7 AST
Harrell – 15 PTS 10 REB 3 AST
Neto – 14 PTS 2 REB 4 AST