The Toronto Raptors won their second straight on Sunday evening as they defeated the Washington Wizards, 102-90.
The win improves the Raptors to 4-8 at home, and marks the third straight game where they have held their opponent to under 100 points.
The Raptors were on fire defensively early on, quickly closing out on shooters and playing the type of positionless basketball that they’ve been preaching all year long. They held the Wizards to 12 points in the first, and built their lead through the other end of the floor in the second. Toronto scored 40 points in the second frame, mostly led by Pascal Siakam who was able to get to his spots all night. A dominant first half saw the Raptors lead by 21 heading into the room, and from there it was a matter of staying the course. The Wizards showed fight in the third through Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but a 16-point deficit into the fourth was too much to overcome, and the Raptors were able to walk away with a second consecutive victory at Scotiabank Arena, which has been hard to come by this season.
Sunday night marked one of Siakam’s finest performances of the season, as he scored 31 points in 36 minutes alongside 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Scottie Barnes was an efficient 5/10 from the floor, good enough for 11 points with 6 boards. Precious Achiuwa was also 5/10 on the night, adding a crucial 14 rebounds for a solid double-double. Canadian Chris Boucher had the game that fans have been waiting for, with 14 points and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes of work.
The Wizards couldn’t find much in terms of offence, but Caldwell-Pope had a nice outing with 26 points on an impressive 8/9 from the field. Bradley Beal struggled for most of the night but still managed 14 points and 7 assists, while Kyle Kuzma finished with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 4 dimes. Washington emptied their entire bench in this one, with the most notable performance coming from Montrezl Harrell, who grabbed 14 rebounds with 6 points.
The Raptors bench outscored the Wizards second unit by a total of 34-28; something that has not been a common occurrence this season. Toronto currently rank dead last in the NBA in bench points, and so it was a bonus to get contributions outside of Siakam and the starting 5. The aforementioned Boucher had an impact, as well as Yuta Watanabe who has been a welcome re-addition to a bench that desperately needed energy.
Toronto rebounded the ball well as a team on Sunday, and it was a major key in the win. The Raptors are never going to be a top rebounding team with their current roster, but group efforts like this will help hold the fort down until Khem Birch returns from injury.
The Raptors offence has struggled to stay afloat without OG Anunoby, but the recent uptick in defensive performance has neutralized the lack of scoring. The defensive effort will need to be more consistent over the remainder of the season, but it’s a positive for Raptors fans that Nick Nurse and company are getting these types of performances out of the roster as constructed.
The win moves Toronto to 11-13 on the season, and only one game back for the final spot in the East’s play-in tournament.
The Raptors will rest at home before welcoming in the OKC Thunder on Wednesday night, while the Wizards will be right back at it in Indiana on the second night of a back-to-back.
Siakam – 31 PTS 6 REB 3 AST
Achiuwa – 10 PTS 14 REB 2 AST
Boucher – 14 PTS 6 REB 1 AST
Caldwell-Pope – 26 PTS 2 REB 1 AST
Beal – 14 PTS 1 REB 7 AST
Harrell – 6 PTS 14 REB 2 AST