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10 things I saw from Raptors-Wizards

  1. The Wizards usually lose, but they always give the Raptors a good run for their money. Washington dropped 39 in the second quarter to take the lead, before the Raptors reasserted themselves by stringing together a series of stops.
  2. Pascal Siakam set a career-high in scoring for the 7th time this season with 44 points. He was money from deep with 4 triples, he scored at least a dozen through transition and other hustle plays, and he roasted everyone in isolation. Strangely enough, the Wizards never tried doubling him, but that’s easier said than done with so many talented players around him.
  3. Siakam’s meteoric rise has been the most enjoyable part of the season. He came into the year not even having secured a spot in the starting lineup, and now he’s the go-to player whenever Kawhi Leonard sits. He’s like if you condensed DeMar DeRozan’s first 7 seasons into the span of 4 months.
  4. Not to be overlooked, but OG Anunoby also played his best game of the year with 22 points and some incredibly important defense against Bradley Beal. OG has been inconsistent all season, and obviously the additions of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green have made him somewhat redundant, but this game is a good reminder that there’s something worth developing with OG. He’s so much better when he’s just reacting within the flow of the game rather than when he’s overthinking and forcing shots.
  5. Jeremy Lin was fairly impressive in his debut considering that the Raptors couldn’t even squeeze in a morning shootaround due to inclement weather. There were a few moments of unfamiliarity, but Lin settled into the game and found some comfort in the dual PG lineup. This is super cliche, especially to say about an Asian-American, but he’s such a smart player who knows how to be useful. His statline of 8-5-5-1-1 is indicative of his overall impact on both ends.
  6. I can never tell if Kyle Lowry is having a good game or a bad one these days. He couldn’t score at all inside the paint, but every one of his four threes felt monumental, and his playmaking and team defense is second to none. You can’t ever feel entirely confident about his performances but you always know that he’s a positive contributor.
  7. This was an underwhelming game from Marc Gasol aside from his block against Beal. His presence on defense was negated by Washington’s stretch fives, and he wasn’t able to assert his physicality down low. The run-and-gun nature of this game was not suited to Gasol’s strengths and so he only played 19 minutes, which is unsustainable.
  8. The funny thing with Danny Green is that he could be invisible for the entire night, but when he’s open during an important moment he’ll always knock down the shot. He drilled a dagger transition three to put the Wizards to bed in the fourth.
  9. Nick Nurse has done a good job thus far, but there are two more issues for him to solve. The first is the rotation – specifically at the center spot between Serge Ibaka and Gasol, and at backup shooting guard with Lin and Norman Powell. The second issue is the defense. How could a team with this much defensive talent consistently lose focus for entire quarters at a time?
  10. I wish I took my parents’ advice and stayed in Chinese school so I could now translate 10 things into my native language. It feels like a lost opportunity with how many fans Lin has attracted to the Raptors. But then again, what kid wanted to spend every Saturday driving to Scarborough instead of watching Metabots and Fighting Foodons?
    Bullet points on the Raptors’ 129-120 win over the Wizards.
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