Despite a 4-1 record and the celebratory 20th anniversary atmosphere, there has been some nervous energy rippling through Toronto. The Raptors have games, yes, but they've given up big points in the first quarter and looked lethargic for stretches. It's one thing to look lackadaisical against a near-dead Thunder team or a struggling Celtics squad, but on this night the Washington Wizards were coming to put their 4-1 record on the line in Toronto. The stakes were clear: win and move atop the conference, lose and prepare for those ripples to get a little bigger.
So the Raptors came out and squashed the Wizards 103-84. They never relinquished the lead, they never let up on the onslaught and that nervous energy? Lost in the purple haze.
Decked out in their vintage purple jerseys (complete with cartoon red dinosaur AND hilarious font), the Raptors exploded into the game from the jump. The usually somnolent Terrence Ross scored 11 of his season high 18 points in the first quarter. DeMar DeRozan was a smooth 7-for-13 (and 11-for-11 from the line) for 25 points. And, oh yeah, Kyle Lowry had a triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
The only negative note occurred when Amir Johnson tweaked his ankle at some point in the third quarter. He gamely tried to play on it afterwards but, with the score ballooning away from the Wizards, ultimately sought the bench as a precaution.
The Wizards, let by John Wall's eight point, 3-for-13 performance, played from behind the entire night. They shot 3-for-19 from three as a team, and 36 percent from the field. Every other team stat between the two squads broke fairly even, but when you shoot like that you're not going to win many NBA games.
"Over the long run they understand we can't start games the way we've been starting them," Coach Dwane Casey said after the game. And while a coach's job is never quite done, Casey had to be pleased with the game's outcome.
Some Random Notes:
- In attendance at the game: Drake, Joe Carter, Marcus Stroman, Mobb Deep, Alvin Williams, and Antonio Davis.
- The anniversary video montages for Williams and Davis were really great. Felt good to relive some of those memories.
- Everybody loves the purple jerseys! Who knew?
- Whoever is in charge of those pre-game floor projections should get a big raise and be promoted to CEO of MLSE. For real.
- Oh yeah, and SKEE-LO was the halftime entertainment. Guess what song he played?
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The Raptors are 5-1. No need to keep wishing. What did you guys think?