Darko Rajakovic and the Toronto Raptors, led by a tremendous individual effort from Pascal Siakam, took home a 111-107 win against the Washington Wizards even though Toronto trailed by 22 points well into the third quarter. The perfect confluence of circumstances led to this victory.
Between Siakam putting up 39 points and 11 rebounds, Toronto using 16-0 and 21-1 runs to surge ahead late, and Washington going the last seven minutes of the game without making a shot from the field, many things went right late. Rajakovic didn’t get too mad during the low points, and that vibe-based coaching may have been the key.
In one of the best pieces of reverse psychology Raptors fans have seen in a long time, Rajakovic said that he didn’t expect Toronto to win that game. Instead, he wanted to see “joy and more competitiveness.” The directive to play with better vibes appears to have worked swimmingly.
Rajakovic seems to be a much more positive and less bombastic coach than Nick Nurse was in Toronto, and it seemed to inspire the team to come back in the second half. Siakam’s mercurial scoring was the primary reason, but Rajakovic hit a home run with his lineup choices late in that game.
More Raptors news
- The Raptors made just four 3-pointers all night long, none of which came from their five starters. This was the first time since January 9, 2013, when Toronto won a game without any of their starters hitting from deep. For the curious, Toronto beat the pre-Process 76ers 90-72 thanks to 19 points from DeMar DeRozan and an Amir Johnson double-double.
- Chris Boucher was very complimentary of Siakam’s performance in the Washington comeback, comparing it to what he saw from franchise icon Kyle Lowry when he led a historic comeback against the Dallas Mavericks years ago.
- On the broadcast of the New York Knicks/Boston Celtics game, NBA commissioner Adam Silver hinted at a second Canadian team potentially coming to the NBA. Silver mentioned Mexico City as a potential expansion destination but also talked up Montreal as a landing spot and hinted at a possible Vancouver return.
- New Orleans Pelicans superstar Zion Williamson said that he is trying “my best to buy in” to coach Willie Green’s system. Williamson is currently third on the team in scoring behind Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, and New Orleans has lost five straight after a 4-1 start.
Will Rajakovic and the Raptors continue their winning ways?