The Toronto Raptors didn’t wait for the fourth quarter to punch out another opponent. While the Washington Wizards fought back from a fast Toronto start to close within 3 points at halftime, the Raps came out on fire after intermission. Led by four 3-balls from Terrence Ross, and some welcome Patrick Patterson buckets, Toronto rolled to a 36-point Q3. They were defending with vigour as well, holding the Wiz to 16 points. Although the second unit couldn’t hold the fort to coach Dwane Casey’s satisfaction in Q4, and had to be subbed out, the margin was too much for the home team to overcome.
Once again the Raps received points from all the starters. DeMar DeRozan, Mr. Reliable, led the charge with 20 points on 14 shots, which tied with TRoss for the most attempts. That’s a far cry from Rudy Gay and his zillion shots per game. Patrick enjoyed his best outing as a Raptor with 18 points, which were particularly helpful when contrasted to the rest of the rotation. Greivis Vasquez and John Salmons continued to scuffle, making one bucket between them. Patterson impressed once again with his defense, tipping (or kicking – whatever works!) Wiz passes. The man anticipates very well on offense also. For instance, in Q2 he noticed DD was about to be doubled in the corner, got open for the pass, and drained the 3.
Amir Johnson more than chipped in. He scored 17, including a 3, and hounded the Wiz all night on D. Jonas Valanciunas is going to get a persecution complex. If there’s a dubious foul called, it’s on him. He got through the game with no fouls to spare, but his production (7 points and boards) was not what we hope for. In fact, the aggressive Wiz owned the boards, ending with a 42-33 advantage. Fortunately the Raps were 11 of 22 from distance, so the board dominance didn’t hurt too much.
The other Mr. Reliable, Kyle Lowry, was just that, again. He dished 11 assists, and made all 4 of his 3-ball tries, to finish with 19 points. Toss in 3 steals, and only 2 turnovers, and he’s delivered a superb night’s work.
The Wiz didn’t receive the kind of production they’ve been used to from John Wall. He managed only 11 points and 6 assists. The Raps dominated this important statistic, with 29 helpers on 40 field goals (Washington was 19/34).
Toronto’s win streak stretches to five, and their road record is now 10-7. They travel next to Miami for a Sunday night game against the mighty Heat.
Brian Boake is Senior Editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.
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