On the way to the lowest point of the season so far, the Raptors rewrote the script and stunned the Washington Wizards.
Trailing by as many as 23 points, Toronto stormed back behind a monster Pascal Siakam performance and the all out hustle of Chris Boucher to escape with a 111-107 2 win.
Toronto had led by only 22 seconds of the game before things got really strange late in the fourth and appeared to be on the way to a demoralizing defeat to start a homestand.
Siakam clearly had other plans. The All-NBA forward had 39 points — his most since the calendar turned to 2023 — including a short, leaning jumper that got a fortuitous roll and went in and gave the Raptors a two-point edge with 7.6 seconds left following a big defensive stand.
After Kyle Kuzma, who scored 34 points, stepped out of bounds, Dennis Schroder iced the game with a pair of free throws. That allowed the Raptors to move to 5-5 ahead of rematches with the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics later this week.
Boucher was also fantastic, willing his team back into a game that should have been over long before. He had seven points and six rebounds, but those numbers didn’t tell the story. Scottie Barnes added 19, including a tough driving layup with 1:31 remaining and had a crucial steal, extending his long arms way out, which led Siakam to the break, where he found Boucher for a game-tying layup with 51.6 remaining. A defensive stop followed and then Siakam’s winner.
Earlier, fans had been mumbling and grumbling, stunned by the home side’s defensive ineptitude against a team that was the NBA’s fourth-worst defensively heading in. Toronto looked confused on the attack, running into each other, throwing away passes and more than anything else, repeatedly clanking shots.
Toronto had been clobbered in Boston on Saturday and lost top two-way player O.G. Anunoby to injury after Anunoby cut his right index finger in a kitchen mishap Sunday and had to miss the game. Gary Trent Jr. also was out, with Plantar Fasciitis, leaving Toronto without perhaps its two best shooters. It showed, with the Raptors hitting just two three-pointers over the game’s first three quarters, missing the other 12 attempts.
They finished just 4-21 from three — or 19% — and the Wizards nailed 12 treys on 46% shooting, but in the end, that discrepancy didn’t matter as the effort edge favoured the Raptors greatly. The Raptors dominated inside, scoring a wild 76 points in the paint.
Washington led by 19 at halftime, but the Raptors kept chipping away, cutting within 10 points. It appeared as if the Wizards would hold off the charge, the lead went back up to 16, but again, the Raptors just kept coming.
It was a wild affair that could have been a lot worse for the home side.
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