Toronto Raptors: Three Takeaways from second half explosion vs Wizards

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

Led by Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, the Toronto Raptors overcame the Washington Wizards in a thrilling contest. But what did we learn from the game?

With one final game before the All-Star break, the Toronto Raptors were looking to go out on a high with a win versus their old nemesis, the Washington Wizards. The Raptors were without Kawhi Leonard once again, due to left knee soreness. Fred VanVleet was missing too, he’ll be out for the next six weeks after undergoing surgery on his thumb.

The Raptors were trotting out their fifteenth starting line-up of the season, with Norman Powell replacing Leonard in the line-up. Jeremy Lin would also feature off of the bench after signing with the Raptors earlier in the day.

Both teams got off to a fairly cold start, the Wizards were 0-5 from the field and down 6-0 in the opening stages, while the Raptors were getting into the paint early. It took the Wizards until the 8:31 mark to score their first points of the game, two free throws from Jeff Green following a foul from Serge Ibaka.

After falling behind by nine points early on, the Wizards cut the deficit to two points and made 6-7 field goals in that run. Shortly afterward, Jeremy Lin checked into the game for the first time as a Toronto Raptor. His impact was immediate, cutting out a Wizards pass and getting out on the break.

The Raptors were up by four at the start of the second but a sluggish start, combined with some good ball movement from the Wizards, cut the lead short before a steal and dunk from OG Anunoby reinvigorated the team.

Washington stuck around in the second quarter and had their first lead of the game courtesy of a Jeff Green three, one which he was fouled on. It didn’t last particularly long, OG Anunoby redeeming himself after fouling Green with a three-pointer of his own.

Kyle Lowry was hit with a bizarre flagrant one foul call, following contact with Thomas Bryant at the rim. The Wizards began to exert themselves in the game, with the three-pointer central to their efforts. Lowry was charged with his third foul late in the second and was pulled until the end of the half.

Jeremy Lin checked back in and assisted Serge Ibaka on a three-pointer before heading to the line himself. However, two more threes from the Wizards, including one at the buzzer from Trevor Ariza, made sure the Raptors would be behind at the break.

The Raptors defensive intensity brought them back into the game, getting stops allowed them to get out and hit the Wizards on the break, Jeremy Lin finding OG Anunoby with a beautiful bounce pass and a Kyle Lowry three brought the game within seven points. Serge Ibaka added a strong finish at the rim to bring the game within four points and the Raptors were in the midst of an 8-0 run.

The run was up to 15-0, a Kyle Lowry three gave the Raptors a one-point lead before another strong defensive sequence gave Lowry a chance to find Jeremy Lin on the break for a delicate reverse lay-up.

Marc Gasol checked into the game and made a huge impact, blocking the lights out of Bradley Beal at the rim. Gasol didn’t even jump.

Toronto kept delivering on both ends of the court, courtesy of an incredible quarter from OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam. Siakam tied his career-high of 33 points at the end of the third and the Raptors were up by 10 points.

Toronto began to stretch the lead a little further in the fourth quarter, led once again by the exploits of Pascal Siakam, who finished with a career-high 44 points as the Raptors ran out the victors, winning 129-120. It was the sixth straight win for the Raptors and their ninth in a row at home.

Here are our three takeaways from the game.

1. OG Anunoby with a career-night

What a game for OG Anunoby, his best of the season so far.

His offensive struggles have been well documented this season, but there was no sign of any woes last night. OG had a career-high 22 points and stepped up in the absence of Kawhi Leonard.

Anunoby was his usual defensive presence, he had one steal and countless sequences where he hurried a shooter or contested a shot. His 22 points came with 9-14 shooting and 50-percent from three. This is the OG Anunoby we want to see.

2. Jeremy Lin is a solid addition

Jeremy Lin featured in his first game as a Toronto Raptor last night and he was a solid contributor.

Lin doesn’t stuff the stat sheet but he’ll do a little bit of everything that’s necessary. He contributed with eight points, five rebounds, and five assists while also taking on a lot of ball-handling duties. Also able to play off of the ball, Lin can operate as a cutter or a spot-up shooter.

It was a great introduction for Lin, who will play as the primary back-up point guard in the absence of Fred VanVleet. Welcome aboard, Jeremy Lin.

3. Another career-night for Pascal Siakam

Pascal Siakam is like a tight end in football, figuring out how to guard him is a job in itself. Siakam is too quick for bigger power forwards and too strong for smaller guards, he’s a unique player with an unfathomable amount of energy.

Whether he was driving to the rim or hitting catch and shoot threes, Siakam was the Raptors best player last night, no question about it.

It was another career-night for the anomalous power forward, who scored a whopping 44 points on 25 shots, including 80-percent from free and 12 made free-throws. Siakam dominated every avenue of the game offensively and was a major contributor on defense, even swatting away a three-pointer from Jabari Parker. P-Money.

Next. Why Jeremy Lin chose Toronto and the risk that comes with it. dark

Make sure to read all of our takeaways from each game at