Scottie Barnes' career-night leads the Toronto Raptors to a much-needed 109-105 victory over the Wizards
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Saturday, January 22, 2022
The Toronto Raptors are able to bounce back in the win column after coming away with a 109-105 victory over the Washington Wizards. Although it didn't end in the way that the Raptors would've liked it too, a win is a win at the end of the day. Especially considering it was Scottie Barnes' best game of his young NBA career.
This was a huge game for Toronto as they've been jocking for positioning with multiple teams in the play-in spots and Washington is one of those teams. Later in the season, this game could prove to be huge in the results of seeding. Toronto didn't necessarily come fresh out the gates with that sort of intensity but as the game progressed so did their level play.
Gary Trent Jr. made his awaited return to the lineup from an ankle injury and immediately displayed how impactful he is to this team. He finished with just 13 points but his overall presence on both sides of the ball helped flourish the Raptors offense especially during their run.
However, the main source of offense was Raptors star rookie Scottie Barnes. Barnes finished with a career-high 27 points and eight rebounds on 63 percent shooting from the field. He dominated the paint and the Wizards simply didn't have an answer for him throughout the first three quarters. It would've helped Toronto's efforts in this victory if he got more opportunities in the fourth which surprisingly he didn't.
From the late third quarter to early fourth, the Raptors imposed their will going up as much as 18 points. The offense was running smoothly and defensively there was a lot of communication and the Wizards looked discombobulated. That was until Bradley Beal started going on a run and flipping the narrative. Beal tallied a team-high 25 points and eight assists, however, he did rack up nine turnovers.
The Raptors reverted to iso ball during this Wizards run, only fueling the momentum more in the favour of their opponent. An 18 point lead eventually turned into a tied game. Fred VanVleet responded with a massive three out of his 21 points late to give Toronto back the lead, which they wouldn't give up.
It wasn't the prettiest win but a win is a win. The Toronto Raptors now improve to 22-21 on the season and move up to the eighth seed. They will now shift their focus to another road matchup against the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday at 6 PM ET.