NBA News Wire

Raptors honor history, add to it with 5-1 start

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
We sometimes use affiliate links in our content, when clicking on those we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you. By using this website you agree to our terms and conditions and privacy policy.

TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors were celebrating their 20th anniversary on Friday night, wearing their original purple road jerseys.

But this was no throwback night in terms of performance. After leading all the way in a 103-84 romp over the Washington Wizards, the Raptors are off to the best start in franchise history at 5-1.

“I think we played well from start to finish,” said point guard Kyle Lowry, who had a triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. “I think we still made some mistakes, but there’s a lot more positives than negatives to take from this game, we can finally say that.”

The Raptors have been slow starters this season but led 28-18 after the first quarter and 59-35 at the half while finally pleasing coach Dwane Casey with their defense.

“They just outplayed us in all facets,” Wizards guard Garrett Temple said. “They didn’t outrebound us (Washington had a 50-49 edge), but they were so much more physical than us at both ends of the court. We just have to forget this game.”

Guard DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points and forward Terrence Ross added 18 for the Raptors, who have won three straight games.

Casey also was happy with the strong first quarter.

“Our guys are professionals, they’re smart players, they’re mature, they’re playoff battled, ready,” Casey said. “So they should understand how important the start of a game is.

“Over the long run, they understand that we can’t start games the way we’ve been starting them. Now we have to make sure we make a habit of the way we started tonight.”

Reserve guard Lou Williams contributed 13 points and center Jonas Valanciunas had nine points and nine rebounds for Toronto.

Forward Otto Porter scored 13 points to lead the Wizards (4-2), with forward Kris Humphries adding 11 and guard Andre Miller 10. Center Marcin Gortat added eight points and 10 rebounds.

Wizards forward Paul Pierce and guard John Wall scored eight points each. Wall had seven assists and Pierce grabbed eight rebounds.

“We weren’t guarding, we didn’t make shots,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “It was a good old-fashioned butt-whooping. That’s what it boiled down to. We started 1-11.”

Pierce said, “We let that affect how we played the game; we played soft and we weren’t aggressive. It just filtered all the way down. We felt sorry for ourselves missing shots and it just kind of snowballed. We can’t let our offense dictate our defense.”

The Raptors took a 24-point lead into the third quarter on 51.3 percent shooting from the field and the Wizards shot only 27.9 percent.

The Wizards’ 10-4 surge to open the third quarter cut the lead to 18 points.

The Raptors also lost forward Amir Johnson to a sore left ankle early in the third quarter. Johnson, who missed the previous three games with the injury before starting Friday, finished with six points and seven rebounds.

After the Raptors got the lead back to 22, a four-point play by Pierce, who was fouled by Ross as he made a 3-pointer, gave some hope to the Wizards.

Washington trimmed the lead to 16 on Wall’s layup for the Raptors before a jump shot by Lowry with 3:09 left in the quarter put Toronto into a 76-55 lead.

Reserve forward James Johnson closed out the third quarter scoring with a 3-pointer to give the Raptors an 82-58 lead.

The Raptors raced out to a 19-6 lead in the first 7 1/2 minutes with Ross providing 11 of the points, going 4 of 4 from the field with three 3-pointers. The Raptors led 28-18 at the end of the first quarter.

Ross made his fourth 3-point shot of the game to increase the lead to 46-25 with 6:25 to play in the first half. The Raptors led 59-35 at the half led by 15 points from DeRozan and 14 by Ross. Gortat, Porter and Humphries led Washington with six first-half points each.

NOTES: F Amir Johnson (left ankle) and C Jonas Valanciunas (nose, hand) returned to the Raptors’ lineup for Friday’s game. Johnson missed the three previous games. Valanciunas missed the second half of Tuesday’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and did not play in Wednesday’s win over the Celtics in Boston. … The Wizards’ only victory in four meetings with the Raptors last season was on Feb. 27 when they prevailed 134-129 in three overtimes. … The Wizards visit the Indiana Pacers for a game on Saturday to complete a stretch of four games in five nights. … The Raptors are home to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday for the second game of a seven-game homestand. … The Raptors wore their original purple road jerseys on Friday for the first time since May 4, 1999, to commemorate their 20th anniversary.

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

Trending Now