Toronto Raptors Roundup: Vince Farewell Game and Beal Thriller

Kawhi Leonard - Toronto Raptors (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kawhi Leonard - Toronto Raptors (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Toronto Raptors Roundup is a weekly segment where we fill you in on all the games, highlights and stories from last week. Here’s what you missed from the thirteenth week of the season.

The Toronto Raptors went 3-0 this week defeating three sub .500 teams. Toronto was able to take care of business against the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards.

It was a great moment for fans and players to see Toronto basketball fans give Vince Carter a standing ovation as he came into the game for the first time. The guy who put Toronto on the basketball map certainly should be wholly recognized and rewarded for his contributions to the city, despite the unfortunate way it all ended.

Kawhi Leonard has been absolutely incredible of late, scoring 20 or more points in 19 straight games, a career-high for Kawhi and the longest 20+ scoring streak alive in the NBA today. The bench also picked it up, having a strong week, particularly against Brooklyn where five players scored in double digits, totaling 60 points.

The Raptors finished the week in a thriller against the Wizards. Bradley Beal fans in Toronto are hoping Raptor execs are changing their mind about unloading their stable of youth and picks for a shot at putting Beal in Toronto. The Raptors end the week with a five-game winning streak, and sit atop the NBA standings with a 33-12 record, 1.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Game Recap

Atlanta at Toronto

This night meant something for those who have been there for the entire journey. From the euphoric highs during Vinsanity to the vitriol spewed upon his return as a Net, this was a night in which it all came full circle.

The wounds have healed, the bad memories glossed over in favour of a returning hero. Nostalgia wafted through the Scotiabank Centre. This was Vince Carter’s night. And in this fans eyes, he more than deserved the standing ovation from the capacity crowd. Then, he promptly drained a three-pointer on his first shot against his former team.

The game itself? Not a good one for the Raptors. They managed to pull out a sloppy 104-101 victory against the 12-28 Hawks, in a game that should never have been so close. An excellent final minute that included a Kawhi Leonard steal followed by excellent ball movement resulting in a Serge Ibaka bucket sealed the game.

Toronto at Brooklyn

The Raptors managed to put away the Nets 122-105 despite a slow start.

What the Raptors did manage to do extremely well was spread the scoring around in a balanced attack with eight players scoring in double digits including five players off the bench. The bench scored an impressive 60 points, a development all Raptors fans will breathe a collective sigh of relief at. The Brooklyn Nets, on the other hand, had only two players in double digits.

Greg Monroe continues to contribute in Jonas Valanciunas‘s absence scoring 10 points and eight rebounds against former Raptor Ed Davis. Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points in his eighteenth straight game – a career high.

Washington at Toronto

The Thriller in DC. The Raptors certainly looked on pace to blow this game out early as they went up big, early. Their defence turned the Wizards over nine times in the first half, leading to turnover after turnover. They were up 36-21 after the first quarter.

But the Wizards brought out a tighter defence in the second half along with a barrage of threes. Bradley Beal took over in the fourth quarter scoring 43 points, adding 15 assists and 10 rebounds. His counterpart, Kawhi Leonard, scored 41 himself extending his 19 game streak with at least 20 points or more.

In the end, it took two overtime periods for the Raptors to come out on top 140-138 in a wild and crazy Sunday afternoon game.

The Week Ahead

Toronto at Boston

The Celtics won eight in a row in early December and then put together another four-game winning streak at the beginning of January. The Raptors will hope to stop streak from starting as the Celtics fight to get back to the top of eastern conference standings.

Phoenix at Toronto

It will be interesting to see if Kawhi Leonard plays in this second game of a back-to-back as coach Nick Nurse has wondered aloud lately about the possibility.

Memphis at Toronto

The basement-dwelling Grizzlies have a tough week ahead as they face Houston, Milwaukee, Boston, Toronto and then New Orleans. The Raptors will hope to take advantage and rack up a win at home on Saturday night as the Grizzlies play the second game of a back-to-back.

Next. The case for/against Kawhi staying. dark

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