Nothin’ But Positives – Raptors vs. Wizards – November 20th

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We already have your pre-game, your post-game, and your quick reactions for every game, but by popular demand (a few people on Twitter) I am bringing my quarterly positives right here in long-form. Rather than try to sum them up in 240 characters or less, I can now expand on what I liked each quarter of the game. If you’re familiar with this format, you’ll know what to expect. If you aren’t, just know that if there is a baby wearing noise-canceling headphones, it counts as a positive and it’s going on the list.

First Quarter Positives:

  • Kia Nurse on the broadcast! We’ve either peaked before the clock even starts, or this is a sign that good things are about to happen.
  • Win tip! On the road!
  • Fred to Precious for the dunk on the first possession! Hopefully this specific two-man game is something that has been improving behind the scenes.
  • Gary Trent Jr. on the board less than a minute in. Another Gary game incoming?
  • Precious draws the foul! And makes both free throws. Nick Nurse said pre-game that just because Precious has been struggling, he is not ready to take him out of the starting lineup. His public confidence in Precious is nice to see, especially from a coach who has no problem calling out his players.
  • Limiting the shooters. The Wizards went 1 of 7 through the first 4 minutes, with their second field goal coming from a fast-break.
  • A Precious hand-off into a screen for Fred, who drives the lane and kicks it to Gary in the corner for 3 to regain the lead after Washington tied the game.
  • Another 3! Catch and shoot Svi gives Toronto a 6 point lead heading into the first time out.
  • Precious Achiuwa’s quickness in the pick and roll.
  • Precious’ chase-down defence on Bradley Beal. It ended with a Beal basket but Precious was able to defend closely right to the basket without committing the foul.
  • Wizards score, Gary answers.
  • Gary blocking Kyle Kuzma’s shot from directly underneath him.
  • Wizards score, Gary answers. He has 10 points with 3 and a half minutes to go.
  • OG finding Svi cutting baseline under the basket, with Svi drawing the foul and making both free throws.
  • Khem’s inside defence on Bradley Beal leads to a rebound for Dalano who pushes ahead to Khem, who has already run the floor to anticipate the basket and sink the shot.
  • Dalano curling around the Khem screen through the paint for the fadeaway.
  • Birch hand-off to Fred on the inside.
  • OG’s first field goal comes from a side-step 3 at the end of the quarter to tie the game at 29 heading into the second quarter.

 

Second Quarter Positives:

  • Dalano helping OG down from the rim with effortless grace, like he wants to be Iman Shumpert on Dancing with the Stars.
  • Chris Boucher grabbing the defensive rebound inside off of a small miss from Avdija due to Dalano’s paint presence.
  • Chris Boucher’s closeout on Avdija results in a travel and a turnover. These Canadian boys have him clamped.
  • Fred drive and kick for Chris Boucher. It was a miss, but it’s always good to see Fred getting his teammates involved.
  • Followed immediately by an elbow jumper from Fred.
  • Fred sending the ball across the court to OG, where Khem immediately sets a gorgeous screen that allows OG to get a foot of open space and knock down the 3.
  • Deflections? Dunks? We got ’em, and OG sits down with 12 points.
  • Fred bounce pass to Precious in the lane. It doesn’t go but the chemistry is growing.
  • Dalano steal for a Fred jab step 3. Banton was frustrated with himself after Beal drew the foul on an earlier possession, but he is one of those rare rookies who is able to shake it off like water off of a duck’s back.
  • Fred with the midrange jumper to extend the lead to 9.
  • Svi with the quick catch and drive. He draws another foul and makes both free throws. He’s 5 of 6 from the line tonight and the lead is up to 11.
  • OG’s defence on Bradley Beal results in a rare miss for Beal, and a rebound ahead to Malachi Flynn who sends it to Svi in the corner for the 3.
  • Anticipating the Wizards inside pass twice in a row and stealing it both times, first Gary and then Svi.
  • Coast-to-coast Gary off of the pass from OG with the last second basket and free throw to end the Wizards mini-run and give the Raptors an 11 point lead at the half.

 

Third Quarter Positives:

  • Fred going through the legs of Gafford to get Gary Trent Jr. the steal. The Lowry looms forever.
  • Corner Freddy!
  • A smothering double-team on Spencer Dinwiddie to stop him from shooting and allow Gary to take the ball to the other end.
  • Man-to-man defence making shots difficult for Bradley Beal.
  • Gary long rebound and a long 2 at the other end.
  • OG quickly switching onto KCP after Gary reached and lost him.
  • OG stepback 3!
  • Every basket by the Wizards thus far has been countered by the Raptors to keep the lead at 16.
  • OG awaiting Svi under the basket for the weak side alley-oop.
  • A small bunny in a Raptors jersey being featured for the Tangerine Fan Angle.
  • Fred creating space off of a Precious assist for a long 2.
  • Dalano Banton closing out on Bradley Beal. It ended in a make for Beal, but the effort was there and there isn’t much you can do when you’re defending a shooter of that caliber.
  • Precious dribble hand-off to Fred for a 3 out of the time-out.
  • Boucher recognizing his length and shooting over the defender on the inside. He makes the basket and draws the foul.
  • Dalano’s chase-down defence on an otherwise wide open Neto, who misses the 3, allowing Precious to grab the rebound.
  • Dalano dribble hand-off to Justin Champagnie with the quick hand-off to Fred for the jumper.
  • Boucher swinging it to Precious, who takes the time to survey the situation and drives middle for a monster slam.
  • Champagnie’s defence on Bradley Beal to end the quarter.

 

Fourth Quarter Positives:

  • Can I admit that I really like these Wizards jerseys now? Will it be a jinx?
  • Fred cross-court pass to OG. The 3 doesn’t fall but for chemistry and development purposes, it’s important to share the ball even when you are the one with the hot hand.
  • Dalano Banton blow-by and over top of Kispert.
  • Dalano Banton rebound.
  • Fred turn-around stepback. He has 27 points with more than 10 minutes left in the half.
  • Dalano Road Runner Banton running the court off of the Chris Boucher rebound and drawing the foul.
  • OG’s patience on the spinning fadeaway, banking it in as the shot clock ends.
  • Precious’ block that lead to Gary Trent Jr. defying gravity to save the ball inbounds, eventually leading to a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope technical foul.
  • The quick back and forth between Fred and Svi, leaving the defenders scrambling while Birch sneaks in for the make.
  • Baseline Freddy inside to Khem Birch. Fred’s two-man game tonight has been sensational.
  • The old in-out in-out, from Fred inside to Khem, back out to OG for the 3.
  • Svi-fence on KCP. The shot doesn’t have to be a miss for the defence to be good.
  • Fred has 30 after a made 3 as the clock wound down. He also got away with a double-dribble but that’s the way it is sometimes.
  • Fred blowing past the entire Washington team before they could find their positions to give Toronto their first basket in over 2 minutes.
  • Beal cut off by Svi who gets the steal.
  • Long rebound for Khem, who gets fouled and makes one free throw. Even though the game is very clearly over, the hustle is still there.
  • Toronto hand Washington their first home loss of the season.

 

Final Score: WAS 100 – TOR 109

Positive Players of the Game: Fred VanVleet, Khem Birch

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