Raptors saw the best version of Scottie Barnes in Wizards win

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Scottie Barnes #4 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors hit a concerning skid lately, as they lost three of their last four road games against some of the better teams in this league. The Washington Wizards were going to give this team everything they got after some heartbreaking losses of their own.

Barnes was going to be under the microscope in this game. Due to some uneven scoring performances over the last few weeks, some quietly started to whisper if the dreaded rookie wall was coming for Scottie. In

Toronto started the game off slowly, but Barnes soon kicked things into overdrive. Barnes was held scoreless in the fourth quarter as Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet dominated the ball, but he still finished with a career-high 27 points on 12-19 shooting in this contest.

Barnes was allowed to use his muscle to power through post defenders for easy points, run the floor, and still show off an effective mid-range game. This version of Barnes is what this team needs going forward.

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The Toronto Raptors saw Scottie Barnes take over.

The Raptors are trying to help Barnes develop as a shooter, but he’s not better off standing far away from the basket and chucking up contested shots. Barnes is still more lethal driving to the basket, and he was able to take advantage of a Wizards lineup that didn’t have Kyle Kuzma ready to go.

Barnes made his first eight shots inside of nine feet tonight, showing what a deadly finisher he can be when he gets running downhill. Daniel Gafford might not be Hakeem Olajuwon as a rim protector, but Barnes beat up on him and Corey Kispert in this contest.

Barnes was better off-ball as well in this game, picking his spots regarding when to cut the basket and finishing once VanVleet dished him the ball. This isn’t that dissimilar to how he was playing earlier in the season, and it helped him break through his scoring drought.

Counterintuitively, the presence of Gary Trent Jr. didn’t impact Barnes’ shot volume. In fact, with Trent helping space the floor, Barnes was able to go to town in the paint.

While the Raptors are clearly going to try to win as many games as possible, they’ve also made it well known that making sure the young guys improve is one of the main goals of this season. The Raptors have to be thrilled with the results they saw from Barnes tonight, as his efficiency has returned.

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