After a tough first quarter in Toronto, the Wizards fought hard and clawed their way back into the game before running out of gas in the fourth quarter. Final score: Raptors 114, Wizards 104.
Fred VanVleet got the scoring started on Sunday evening with a stepback three and that set the tone for the remainder of the first quarter. O.G. Anunoby was going nuts, hitting what felt like every shot, and the Wizards were having a tough time getting their offense started with no Bradley Beal or Kyle Kuzma.
The Raptors jumped out to a quick 17-5 lead, and when the Wizards showed signs of life, the Raptors quickly got going again, finishing the quarter on a 15-4 run to take a 37-21 lead. Anunoby dropped 18 points in the opening quarter.
The second quarter had its natural ebbs and flows. Corey Kispert got himself going. Johnny Davis provided a spark off the bench, and the Wizards went on a 12-2 run midway through the quarter to trim the lead to eight. VanVleet had something to say about that as he caught fire near the end of the quarter and helped the Raptors jump out to their biggest lead of the game -- 21 points -- with a little over one minute remaining in the first half. After that last minute played out, the Wizards found themselves in a 63-46 hole heading into the halftime break.
The third quarter is when things got really interesting. The Wizards opened the quarter on an 8-0 run behind a couple of consecutive threes and a layup from Delon Wright and Kispert. Everyone else got involved soon after. Kristaps Porzingis started hitting threes. Davis was bringing the heat on both ends of the floor, forcing turnovers and hitting threes. And Deni Avdija was controlling the transition game.
With about 3:55 left in the third quarter, Avdija was leading the fastbreak and looked like he was gearing up for a one-handed jam. Once he got the Raptors' backline of defense to commit to him, he casually dropped the ball behind his head so Porzingis could have an open dunk. It was one of the flashiest dimes of the season from Avdija.
Washington scored 38 points in the third quarter and connected on eight of their 12 attempts from three. The squad was playing with energy, snapping the ball around, hitting open shots, defending well, and had at one point cut the Raptors' lead down to one.
Unfortunately, that was the closest the game would get. The Raptors opened the fourth quarter the same way they opened the game. Despite fighting hard and hanging around for as long as possible, the Raptors' offensive rebounding and tenacious defense fueled them to the finish line.
"I thought a lot of good things honestly," said Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. "For the most part, pretty good ball movement, I think which helped us... We know they're gonna be a very physical, very handsy team. Our ball security wasn't where it should be. Obviously, they thrive in that area. And then the second-chance points. I think combined, those two areas, 52 points of their 114 come from offensive rebounds and points off turnovers. So, we allowed their strengths to beat us."
Porzingis led the way for the Wizards with 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 shooting from deep to go along with six boards, two assists, and two steals. Kispert also provided a nice scoring punch with 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting from 3-point land.
Avdija was great in his own right, doing a little bit of everything for the Wizards as he flashed his versatile defensive abilities by guarding guys of different sizes and styles of gameplay. He was doing a nice job of sliding his feet to stay in front of guys like VanVleet and staying vertical when guarding guys like Pascal Siakam. Offensively, Avdija was getting downhill, finishing around the cup, and finding open teammates. He scored 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists.
Davis deserves a round of applause for his efforts as well. The rookie scored a career-high 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 shooting from deep to go along with four rebounds and two assists in 30 minutes of action. He was shooting the ball as confidently as ever, defending at a high level, and attacking the rim ferociously.
"He's taking the right types of shots," said Unseld Jr. on Davis' big night. "I think he's got a little bit more confidence. The game has kind of slowed down enough where he knows he's open, and he's confident enough to shoot it. I think that's a great sign."