More from yet another road win for the surging Raptors, who defeated the Wizards 101-88 at Verizon Center for their fifth straight victory on Friday night in Washington:
– The Raptors have been fourth-quarter warriors during this recent run, but it was the third that propelled them in Washington on Friday. The Raptors outscored the Wizards 36-16 after the break, where Casey harped on the need to buckle down defensively following a Wizards second-quarter run. Washington proceeded to shoot 3-for-16 (18.8 per cent) in the quarter.
– The Raptors are now an astounding 10-3 since the trade of Rudy Gay, pushing them back above the .500 mark this late in the season for the first time since April 3, 2010 (38-37). They’ve won five straight overall and seven of their last eight on the road.
– One game does not a selection make, but can Kyle Lowry get some All-Star votes/consideration/high-level lobbying please? In a head-to-head battle with John Wall (likely to be considered for a spot himself), Lowry put up 19 pts (7-13 FGM-A) with 11 assists and five rebounds.
He’s been a huge catalyst for this team’s turnaround and there may not be a point guard in the Eastern Conference has been more instrumental in his team’s overall success than him. More from him post-game below:
– If there’s any justice with All-Star Selections, then DeMar DeRozan will be heading to New Orleans next month as well. The scoring (20 pts) on good percentages immediately jumps out at you, but he also piled up five assists (and could have had a few more) with zero turnovers.
DeRozan continuously made smart reads against an aggressive Washington defence that was playing him to force up bad shots or turn it over. Neither happened.
– Terrence Ross didn’t have the best shooting night, but he certainly made his presence felt in 32 minutes of floor time. Defensively, he’s really coming into his own — whether it’s helping to force Brad Beal into a woeful 6-16 shooting night or timing a John Wall drive perfectly for a block.
Ross shot 5-14 from the field offensively, but four of those makes were 3-pointers in just under six minutes of third-quarter play that broke the game wide open.
– Bookending that awesome third-quarter performance from Ross was Patrick Patterson, who scored the final 11 points of the frame on 5-5 shooting from the field. The DC native would finish with 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field. More from him post-game:
– A seven-rebound effort for Amir Johnson last night propels him into a tie with Andrea Bargnani for third on the Raptors all-time rebounds list at 2095.
Some fans online were stunned at that ranking for Bargnani, who hasn’t exactly been considered an elite rebounder. Bear in mind however, Johnson has done this in exactly 103 fewer games than Bargnani and he isn’t even in the franchise top 10 for total minutes played (Bargnani is fifth on that list).
– Friday’s win provides more food for thought for Raptors President and GM Masai Ujiri and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman, who were in attendance last night. Media caught up with Ujiri after the morning shootaround and while he remains coy about his long-term plan to building a contender, he’s having a hard time arguing with recent results.
“Sometimes the effect of a trade right away… teams are going to play well, they’re going to react. These guys, there’s a good spirit about them. They like playing with each other. They play hard. They give it their all on the court and in the NBA that goes a long way. So I think we’ll keep it going and again, I think this is a credit to the players and the coaches.”
More from Ujiri on Friday below:
– Finally, a big Happy Birthday to the one and only Jack Armstrong. Next year, I’m getting him a Twitter account…