Thursday, Jun 8, 2023

Raptors get job done against Wizards despite familiar loose threads

TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors got the job done.It was nothing to be particularly proud about. The Washington Wizards arrived at Scotiabank Arena..

Raptors get job done against Wizards despite familiar loose threads

TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors got the job done.

It was nothing to be particularly proud about. The Washington Wizards arrived at Scotiabank Arena short three starters and having gone 3-9 since they ran over the Raptors in the first of a two-game series in Washington earlier this month.

To their credit, Toronto looked serious about the task at hand in the first half, but it didn’t last. They allowed Washington back in the game by surrendering a 38-point third quarter to the visitors. The Raptors weren’t entirely better in the fourth as they made little mistakes like, I don’t know, not bothering to cover Wizards sharpshooter Corey Kispert (5-of-11 from deep) in the strongside corner, letting him hit an inexplicably wide-open three as both O.G Anunoby and Scottie Barnes failed to account for him. And while Kristaps Porzingis is a more-than-capable three-point shooter, the lanky Wizards giant is no threat to put it on the floor and finish at the rim, so why the Raptors were flying past him on every pump fake was hard to fathom.

Let’s just say the details weren’t all nailed down, so fitting for a Raptors season that has seen more than its fair share of loose threads and frayed edges.

But it’s not how but how many when it’s all added up in the end and Toronto’s 114-104 win is ultimately more important than non-existent style points.

The Raptors were led by Anunoby who finished with 29 points on 11-of-21 shooting and four threes, while Fred VanVleet added 28 points, seven assists and five triples. Toronto got good news before the game as Barnes (wrist) returned to the lineup after being out for two games. He finished with 13 points, five rebounds and six assists. Toronto shot 45.9 per cent from the floor and 11-of-31 from deep and forced the Wizards into 18 turnovers for 25 points. Washington shot 44.2 per cent from the floor, was 16-of-36 from three and scored just 11 points on the Raptors’ 13 giveaways. Porzingis had 26 points on 17 field goal attempts with four threes in seven tries.

The win allowed ninth-place Toronto to improve to 37-38 on the season and stay a half-game clear of hard-charging Chicago in 10th. The loss likely eliminates the Wizards from realistic contention for a play-in spot as Toronto is now four games up with seven games to play and also holds the head-to-head tiebreaker on Washington.

Clinching — more or less — a play-in spot hardly seems like something to celebrate, but it might end up being the Raptors’ high point this season. Who knows, but at least they can still keep pushing forward, or trying.

The Raptors finish their four-game homestand on Tuesday against Kyle Lowry and the Miami Heat, who are in seventh place and fighting for sixth. The Raptors then play five on the road, starting Friday in Philadelphia. They head to Charlotte for two, then Boston for two more before hosting Milwaukee on April 9, the last game of the regular season. Barring a sudden streak of excellence, this is probably who the Raptors are: within hailing distance of the .500 mark, but likely to finish the season with less than 41 wins and likely needing to win two games in the play-in tournament — one on the road — to qualify for the post-season.

The Raptors showed some of their better traits to start the game. They attacked the Wizards defensively and showed that one of the benefits of having five players averaging at least 15 points a game is that there’s always someone ready to assert themselves.

Anunoby was on a mission early. He’s gotten plenty of attention — and justifiably so — for his individual defence this season. He was back at it against the Wizards as Nurse was matching his minutes with Porzingis, exactly the kind of skilled big that Anunoby has shown the ability to inhale this season and at other points in his career. His quickness makes them uncomfortable when they face up or put the ball on the floor and he’s too big and strong for even the most dominant paint scorers to take him for granted, and Porzingis isn’t that. And given Washington was without Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, and Monte Morris — two of their leading scorers and their starting point guard, respectively — it was likely going to be a tough night for Porzingis anyway.

But it was Anunoby’s offence that made it additionally so. The big wing was on it early and hit two quick three and a pair of pull-up jumpers over the seven-foot-three Porzingis in the early going before lining up for another triple as Toronto jumped out to a 22-10 lead. Anunoby sat briefly, came back at the end of the quarter, and hit another jumper and a triple. He was halfway to his career-high of 36 at the end of the first quarter, and Toronto led 37-21.

In the second quarter VanVleet put his shoulder in. The Wizards had cut the Raptors’ lead to nine — taking advantage of a bench-heavy unit in the first part of the period with Pascal Siakam anchoring Christian Koloko, Jeff Dowtin Jr., Malachi Flynn, and Chris Boucher. Siakam did his best with 11 in the quarter, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Wizards. VanVleet fixed that as he hit Siakam for an open three, made a steal and scored a lay-up, made another steal, and scored a jumper before Anunoby made the Raptors’ third steal in the space of 60 seconds and went the other way for a dunk. VanVleet found Jakob Poeltl for a lay-up to complete a 14-3 run in the space of three minutes that helped Toronto start the third quarter leading 63-46.

So far so good, as far as the Raptors’ game plan against a slumping, short-handed team.

“You know how it is: You’ve got to go play and play well,” said Nurse before the game. “We’ve got to be physical with these guys. We’ve got to guard them and put out that defensive effort we put out the other night. I thought we pursued the ball and contested shots really hard. It translated into a lot of really good offence and unselfish offence.”

And if you don’t? Well, then you have a third quarter like the Raptors had. The Wizards figured if they came all this way, they might as well play hard and came out and hit four threes as part of a 16-4 run to start the half and cut Toronto’s lead to five in less than four minutes. Hopes for an early blowout and a relaxing night’s work dissipated. Daniel Gafford tried to block VanVleet into the first row, and told him about it. Jordan Goodwin did it to Anunoby and Johnny Davis hit the Wizards’ eighth triple of the quarter on 12 attempts and took advantage of four Raptors turnovers to start the fourth trailing just 87-84.

Fortunately the Raptors recovered from there — Anunoby finishing strong with nine fourth-quarter points certainly helped — and were able to win going away, leaving them to begin dreaming big play-in dreams, presumably.


By: Michael Grange
Title: Raptors get job done against Wizards despite familiar loose threads
Sourced From:
Published Date: 03-27-2023

Frequently Asked Questions

Which was the Raptors' best year?

The 2019 championship season was the Toronto Raptors' greatest year. The Raptors won the NBA Championship for the first time in their history. It was an exciting and memorable season. Kawhi Leonard was crowned Finals MVP. The team's regular season record was 58-24. They defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games to take home the title.

The Toronto Raptors reorganized their front office in 2013, replacing Bryan Colangelo with Masaiujiri. This change would bring a new era to the franchise and make them one of NBA's best teams.

The Raptors under Ujiri enjoyed a resurgence and reached the playoffs in 2014. This was their first playoff appearance since 2008. They have won five Division titles since then. Their most successful regular season was in 2018. Ujiri also made an unorthodox but successful trade in that year, sending DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard to the San Antonio Spurs.

The Raptors had an incredible 2019, winning their first conference championship, and reaching the NBA finals. In total, they beat the Golden State Warriors six times.

Ujiri has been an outstanding success with the Raptors and deserves to be credited for turning around the team's fortunes. The Raptors are one of the top teams in the NBA thanks to his leadership and appear poised to remain contenders for many more years.

The 2019 championship season is certain to be one of the most memorable in Raptors' history.

Ujiri should and will continue to be focused on building a winning culture which supports the players and staff as we move forward. This team has a bright future if it continues to be dedicated to excellence. The 2019 championship season has set the bar for Toronto Raptors, and it's up to Ujiri and his team to continue building on this success.

Who owns the Toronto Raptors?

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the owners of this team, owns it. MLSE also owns Toronto FC's NHL team, Toronto FC's MLS team, and the Toronto Argonauts CFL team.

When did the Raptors win their first playoff series?

Toronto won their first ever playoff series, defeating New York by 3-2 in 2001. The team advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals for only the second time under Lenny Wilkens as head coach.

When was the Raptors’ first game?

The Raptors vs. New Jersey Nets was their first regular-season match at the SkyDome. Alvin Robertson scored the first point in franchise history, drawing 33,306 spectators. The Raptors defeated Nets in 94-79. Contributions from Damon Stoudamire (10 and 10 assists), as well as Robertson (30 pts) were key.

What was the fate of the Toronto Raptors following Kawhi Leonard's departure from Toronto?

It was a banner year for the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors won 53 of their 53 games in 2020. All-Star point-guard Kyle Lowry was the catalyst for the team's success. Lowry averaged 19.7, 7.5 assists, as well as 4.8 rebounds. Lowry was joined by fellow All-Star forward Pascal Siakam, who averaged 22.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Role players like Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet also made strong contributions to the Raptors' success. They were able to overcome injuries to Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol thanks to their depth and talent.

The team was led and managed by Nick Nurse, Coach of the Year, and Pascal Siakam, All-NBA Second Teamer. . Siakam was a star, scoring nearly 20+ points per games. Coach Nurse made bold strategic moves that paid off. Kyle Lowry was chosen to the 2020 NBA All-Star roster, his sixth consecutive selection.

The playoffs started later than usual this season, in August at the "Bubble", Bay Lake, Florida near Orlando. In the first round, the Raptors met the Brooklyn Nets and won 4-0. They went down 0-2 against the Boston Celtics in the next round, but OG Anunoby hit a buzzer-beater to win Toronto the third game. The series ended up going to seven games with Boston winning.


  • By 2018, estimated the Raptors were worth $1.4 billion, 12th in the NBA. (
  • This improved during the 2006–07 regular season to an average of 18,258 fans (13th in the league), 92.2 percent capacity at the Air Canada Centre. (
  • After Thomas attempted to execute a letter of intent with Slaight to purchase the team failed, he resigned from his position in November and sold his 9 percent stake in the team to Slaight. (
  • As predicted by analysts, the team easily secured a berth in the 2001 NBA playoffs with a franchise-high 47 wins. (
  • Thomas named Raptors' GM NBA superstar to have 10% stake in the new franchise". (

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How To

How to get to the Toronto Raptors game from where you are

Toronto Raptors' games are held at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. TTC subways can be used to get to ACC. Union Station is about 30 minutes from ACC. Bay Street station is the nearest stop to ACC.

Bay street station is best if you're coming to ACC from Union Station. Follow the signs towards ACC. If you arrive at ACC via another direction, please take the signs to Bay Street station.

From Bay Street Station, follow the signs towards the ACC.

Accessible to persons with disabilities, the venue is easily accessible. For those with disabilities, there are designated seating areas. Sign language interpretation is also available at the ACC.

Parking is free at the ACC. There is however limited street parking nearby.