Take all the bad things you’ve seen and heard about the Brooklyn Nets’ horrible defense, multiply by 10, and you have the Washington Wizards defense.
Actually, better multiply it by 15 just to be safe.
The Toronto Raptors took advantage of Washington’s many defensive shortcomings last night, scoring with ease on their way to a 137-115 victory.
Give the Wizards credit; they can’t defend a lick but they managed to hang around most of the game, never letting the Raptors get too comfortable. They even made a late push, getting the lead down to five early in the fourth. But the Raptors were in full “bend, don’t break” mode, and after a late overturned call that wiped away three potential Wizards free throws, eventually ran away with it.
Norman Powell had an excellent all-around night, finishing with a game-high 28 points along with seven boards, four assists and a steal. Pascal Siakam shot the ball well again, scoring 26 on 17 shots including 3-of-4 from downtown.
18 points for #NBAAllStar @pskills43 pic.twitter.com/X2mViCovW9— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 11, 2021
Bradley Beal had 24 for the Wizards, and Russell Westbrook added 23 (on 20 shots).
When the Wizards made their fourth quarter run with Bradley Beal on the bench, it looked like we might be in for another exciting Raptors-Wizards finish. And when Siakam fouled Westbrook on a three-point attempt right in front of the Raptors bench, with Westbrook heading to the line for three shots and a chance to cut the lead to six with just under five minutes to go, it looked like it might “here we go!” time.
But Siakam implored Nick Nurse the challenge the call, and it was subsequently overturned, as it turned out it was actually Westbrook who grabbed Siakam’s arm. That overturned call seemed to take any remaining wind out of Washington’s sails, and the Raptors took possession, promptly went on an 11-0 run including five points from Powell, and the rout was on.
The Raptors started out strong, with everyone contributing early. Even Aron Baynes, who continues to struggle around the basket, had a couple of assists and screen assists, and did manage to throw one down over his old teammate Alex Len. But the the first quarter once again belonged to Powell, who scored nine points of 4-of-5 shooting as he continued his first quarter dominance.
Norm just gettin' buckets pic.twitter.com/gSPcsasB5F— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 11, 2021
Although the Wizards cut a once nine-point lead down to five with 4 minutes to go in the quarter, a late Raptors push, including a perfectly executed 2-for-1 with a Fred VanVleet triple and a Chris Boucher tip-in, stretched the lead to 40-28.
The second quarter saw the Raptors stretch their lead to 14 behind some solid ball movement, including the swing-swing movement that ended up in this Kyle Lowry three-ball:
Find the shooter @Klow7 | #NBAAllStar— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 11, 2021
⭐️ 1 RT = 1 Vote ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/wn6SxVjG0X
Lowry, by the way, looked unhindered by the back spasms that took him out of Monday’s game; he finished with 21 on 8-of-14 shooting with four boards and five assists.
Chris Boucher continued his solid play, dunking off of a nice dish from DeAndre’ Bembry in the second, but Terence Davis continued his puzzling play in the same frame, dribbling the air out of the ball and forcing bad shots. Still, the Lowry+bench unit was once again successful, as it pushed the Raptors’ lead to 14 — but oddly enough, as soon as Norman Powell and Aron Baynes returned to the floor, the Wizards went on a 10-0 run to cut it to four.
A Siakam and-1 stopped the the bleeding, and Powell and Lowry continued to put pressure on the rim, helping the Raptors get the lead back up to 13, 74-61, at the half.
Boucher finished the first half with eight points and seven boards in just eight minutes, and later posterized Wizards rookie Deni Avdija for good measure.
BOUCHER CATCHING BODIES ON THE REGULAR pic.twitter.com/AKOg2KAsKQ— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 11, 2021
The Raptors now improve to 12-13, with a chance to get back to .500 tomorrow night against the underperforming Boston Celtics.
The Wizards, meanwhile, drop to 6-16.