Raptors Hold off Wizards in Gutsy Performance
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Saturday, December 21, 2019
The injury-plagued Toronto Raptors displayed the grit that made them NBA champions, holding off the Washington Wizards 122-118 at Scotiabank arena.
The Raptors played without forward Pascal Siakam, center Marc Gasol and guard Norman Powell, all of whom were announced to be out indefinitely by the club on Thursday. The team welcomed back guard Fred VanVleet who had missed the last five games due to a knee injury.
The Raptors jumped out to an 18-8 lead and finished strong, leading 40-23 after the initial quarter. Kyle Lowry led the attack with 12 points and three helpers in the opening stanza. The Wizards were sluggish in the first half, shooting just 36.2% including six of seventeen from beyond the arc The Raptors took advantage of the Wizards’ miscues, scoring 14 points off Washington turnovers en route to 52.6% shooting and a 68-52 lead at the break.
The Wizards showed signs of life to start the second half behind all-star guard Bradley Beal who scored 15 points in the quarter to narrow the Raptors lead to 96-85 after three.
Washington came out on fire to start the fourth quarter, outscoring the Raptors 22-11 to tie the game 107-107 with just over seven minutes to play. But The Raptors weathered the storm and never trailed, Lowry hitting a clutch three with two minutes left to give the Raps a 116-110 edge. Solid free throw shooting from Lowry and VanVleet down the stretch put the game away.
Lowry finished with 26 points and nine assists in just over forty minutes of action. VanVleet finished just shy of a triple double with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists while Serge Ibaka added 26 points and 10 boards. Toronto needed all hands on deck in this one and got just that with six players finishing in double figures.
Bradley Beal and Ish Smith led the Wizards with 37 and 26 points respectively.
The Raptors have now won four straight and improve to 20-8, good for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Washington falls to 8-19 and has won just two of their last ten.
The Raptors host the Dallas Mavericks Sunday - tip-off 3:30 pm.