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Raptors beat Wizards for second straight house win

Raptors beat Wizards for second straight house win

TORONTO – Defence has lengthy been a cornerstone of the Toronto Raptors’ success, however a stable defensive effort had been inexplicably lacking of late.

However taking part in smothering defence from the opening tip on Sunday, the Raptors roared to a 102-90 victory over the Washington Wizards for his or her second consecutive win.

Pascal Siakam scored 17 of his 31 factors in a key second quarter, whereas Chris Boucher had 14 factors to guide a wonderful efficiency by the bench.

Requested why the defence has been so noticeably higher the previous two video games, Boucher mentioned, laughing: “That’s all we do at observe.

“The previous few practices that we had — after we misplaced a recreation, I feel we simply didn’t present up, I feel in opposition to Boston, and Memphis too — since then all we do is defence.”

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Scottie Barnes had 11 factors for the Raptors (11-13), who exacted revenge for his or her loss to Washington on opening evening. Valuable Achiuwa had 10 factors and a team-high 14 rebounds, whereas Fred VanVleet completed with 10 factors in Toronto’s fourth win of their final 11 video games.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Washington (14-10) with 26 factors.

The Raptors’ bench, which has been a weak spot this season, supplied a giant spark, outscoring Washington’s bench 34-28.

“I assumed that group that began set the tone, however I additionally thought the blokes who got here off the bench introduced the identical sort of power and perhaps even slightly extra,” coach Nick Nurse mentioned. “That’s sort of what we’re hoping for it to appear like. It was , all-around crew effort defensively.”

Nurse known as rookie Dalano Banton’s efficiency “superior.” He praised Boucher, who had a tough begin to the season and located himself all however out of Nurse’s rotation. On Sunday, Banton discovered a slicing Boucher a number of occasions for baskets.

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Boucher credited his enchancment watching movie and meditation.

“Lots of people are upset with my play, which I perceive, however I do loads of psychological work into determining what it’s, finally you discover it, finally what it’s important to do,” the Montreal native mentioned. “I’m realizing what position I’ve right here, take what I can get and do the most effective with it.”

Boucher mentioned he does “loads of meditation,” however solely began doing it pre-game on the suggestion of Raptors therapist Ray Chow.

“Ray instructed me he felt like once I was taking part in there’s a lot occurring in my thoughts,” Boucher mentioned. “So, gave me slightly meditation at present, and that kinda actually helped out. Going into the sport flowing, and understanding that I’m in a position to do sure stuff and be assured with it.”

The Wizards, who beat Toronto on opening evening to spoil the Raptors’ first recreation in Toronto in 600 days, arrived on Sunday in fourth place within the Japanese Convention and trying to bounce again from a 15-point loss to Cleveland two nights earlier.

Toronto was recent off a four-point win over Milwaukee on Friday, holding on to win with the most effective defensive efforts this season.

Their momentum carried into Sunday because the Raptors constructed a 25-point first-half lead, smothering the Wizards on the defensive finish. Siakam shot an ideal 7-for-7 in a second quarter that noticed the Raptors pour in 40 factors, a season-high for 1 / 4.

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“We don’t have a seven-footer on the market, however we have now guys that may do a number of issues and are nice on defence,” Siakam mentioned. “We’ve simply acquired to deliver the trouble each single evening.”

Main 84-68 to begin the fourth, the Wizards sliced the distinction to 12 factors halfway via the quarter, however Washington wouldn’t threaten once more, and when Achiuwa acquired his fingers on an offensive rebound and drove to the ring for a dunk, swinging from the rim to the roar of the capability Scotiabank Area crowd of 19,800, the Raptors have been again up by 16 factors with 4:15 to play.

With a recreation Monday at Indiana, the Wizards threw within the figurative towel and emptied the bench with about three minutes to play. Nurse did the identical with 1:30 to play and the sport effectively in hand. It was the primary time the Raptors have received back-to-back video games since a five-game profitable streak Oct. 27 to Nov. 3.

The Raptors — who’ve three video games to go on this season-high seven-game homestand — stay with out the frontcourt presence of OG Anunoby, who sat out his ninth consecutive recreation with a hip harm, and Khem Birch, who missed his fifth straight and ninth this season with knee swelling. There’s no timeline for the return of both participant.

The pesky Raptors held Washington to only a dozen factors within the first quarter. On the offensive finish, six gamers scored, Gary Trent Jr. had a pair of three-pointers, and Toronto dedicated zero turnovers for a 23-12 benefit to begin the second.

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Siakam couldn’t miss within the second, and his three-pointer with 4:59 to play had the Raptors up by 25 factors. Toronto took a 63-42 benefit into the halftime break.

The Raptors sputtered within the third. They’d hassle containing Caldwell-Pope, who scored 10 within the quarter, and allowed the Wizards to creep again to inside 12 factors.

The evening marked the eighth annual Giants of Africa recreation in celebration of the lifetime of Nelson Mandela. NBA commissioner Adam Silver was in attendance.

The Raptors host struggling Oklahoma Metropolis on Wednesday. On Friday, the Memphis Grizzlies demolished the Thunder 152-79, shattering the NBA document for the most important margin of victory.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Dec. 5, 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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