The Toronto Raptors found yet another victory in January as they made it nine straight with a 106-89 win over the Washington Wizards. The win gives the Raptors their 30th of the season and keeps them in close contention for the top seed in the eastern conference. The Raptors closed out the 1st on a 6-0 run, taking a 24-18 lead. Although Washington challenged multiple times in a high scoring second quarter, they were never able to take a lead since the 1st quarter, with Toronto leading 53-50 into the half.
Another strong finish in the fourth led to the Raptors’ taking the win. The home team was led by Kyle Lowry’s 29 points as he went 8-14 from the field and 5-9 from beyond the arc. He was helped by solid performances from fellow starters Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan, as well as another key showing from the reserves as they combined for 37; Terrence Ross leading the way with 15. The Wizards were missing key players Bradley Beal and Kris Humpries, and looked to John Wall on most possessions. He managed 18 for the night, along with 14 assists for the double double. The Raptors have now won all four match ups with the Wizards this season, which partially avenges their playoff sweep from last season.
It was another night in which the Raptors put on an offensive show. They put up 106 points overall and proved again that they can find buckets from multiple sources. While Lowry led the way, five Raptors managed double figure points. As a team they found 20 assists, which has been an improving aspect as the season progresses. Corey Joseph gave out six assists, and Lowry managed four assists, as the point guards rightfully led the way. Turnovers were an issue with the team giving up 20, eight of which were on Valanciunas and DeRozan (four each), and the shooting statistics down from two nights ago. This time, the Raptors shot 44% from the field and 38% from three. The Raptors have now managed over 100 points for seven straight games.
During periods of play the Raptors defence was able to hold Washington down, and in the end stopped them from making that key run which could have turned the game. The team managed seven steals and three blocked shots while the Wizards only gave up 11 turnovers for the night. It was really poor shooting from downtown that kept the Wizards scoring nice and low, as they ended up going 21% from the perimeter. This is now the third straight game the Raptors have held opponents to below 100.
The Raptors as a team had a big night on the glass, picking up 48 rebounds, and holding Washington to just 35. While some of this is thanks to the Wizards’ poor shooting, the Raptors proved again just how strong they can be in this area. Valanciunas led the way with 12 on his way to a double-double while Patrick Patterson and Luis Scola pulled in eight each. As Washington shot poorly, it was critical to not give them second looks, as the opposition managed a lowly seven offensive boards for the night.
It was another night where anyone could have taken it home, but Kyle Lowry’s 29 points, 4 assists and +11 impact gives him the rights to the game ball. As a unit, the bench would win this category, but it can’t be divided into eight. Late in the final term, there was a scary moment where it seemed like Lowry might of sustained a hand or arm injury, but updates show that X-rays were negative, and only received a “sprained wrist.”
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