All around masterclass propels Raptors past Wizards 102-90

5 mins read
Image: Mark Blinch/Getty Images
  1. Other RR content from this game:

Before I get to the main keys to this win, there’s a new addition for Fred VanVleet’s career highlight reel.

Return of Defence!

Exclamation point here. The Raptors have now allowed less than 100 points in three straight games, something opponents had done to Toronto in 13 of 14 contests before that. Both Chris Boucher and Pascal Siakam mentioned after the game that defence is all they’ve been working on in practice since losing to Boston last Sunday. The Wizards only scored 12 first quarter points, and Bradley Beal especially looked nothing like his normal self all game.

Pascal Siakam

Pascal flipped the foul script on the Wizards. Siakam had a combined 16 fouls over his previous three games but started his 24 point first half barrage by getting to the free throw line. Spicy P went 10-12, which is more than his last four games combined (8). Siakam has gotten off to fast starts pretty often recently, and did a great job taking advantage of getting to his spots vs the Wizards single coverage.

Pascal has talked about slowly getting back his legs and conditioning after numerous post game interviews, and you’re starting to see more than flashes of proof. Even the spin moves that were widely polarizing a season ago (why?) are returning. He only needed to take one three because everything was dropping from the block to elbow area in the first half.

Siakam also revealed a special theory to why he had his second highest scoring output this season.

The babies continue to provide instant results for any Raptor involved.

Dalano Banton

Personally, this was my favourite Banton game of the season outside of the memorable NBA debut. He set a new career-high with six assists, some of which came in an elite early second quarter stretch that ultimately KO-ed Washington.

In successive possessions, Banton found Scottie Barnes on a perfectly timed cut, pushed the pace as we are used to seeing for a transition layup, then found Yuta Watanabe in the corner for a three after a Wizards timeout. That pushed the lead from great start to potential blowout range.

Speaking of range, Banton showed that off too a couple of possessions later.

That was Dalano’s first made trey in five games which probably made Nick Nurse quietly shout for joy. Nurse’s goal for Banton the day before in a 905 game was to take at least five threes, which Banton succeeded (2-for-8). There is a clear emphasis to open up his perimeter game, similar to Barnes. The Raptors have been struggling to get a spark from the bench, and Banton’s stretch made sure that this game was not competitive for the most part.

Chris Boucher

Boucher also enjoyed one of his better games of the season and it simply consisted of going back to the basics. He made a few great cuts for easy baskets and was more active in general. Another great read by Dalano here by the way.

Boucher admitted after the game to media that he’s been spending a lot of time this season a) in his own head and b) trying to re-find his three point shot that had everyone amazed last season (only 18.5 percent so far). As a result the rest of his game struggled.

Up next: Game five of this seven game homestand welcomes the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. Two straight games with two days off beforehand? Blessed.

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