The Raptors played the Wizards in Washington D.C. for a Sunday matinée game, and it went much than most people had expected it to have gone. The Raptors took two overtimes to down the John Wall-less Wizards, and needed a huge performance out of Kawhi to do it.
Here are my takeaways from that game:
1. Lowry Might Have Played Too Much
Kyle Lowry just returned from a serious, lingering back injury that is reported to require injections. In his fourth game back from that injury, he recorded 50 minutes and was seen on the floor for long enough to scare a few years off the lives of Raptors fans.
I'm not saying limit his minutes. I'm not saying he should be conservative. I am saying that the 32-year-old, fresh-off-a-back-injury Lowry maybe should not be the most-played player on a team that includes young freak athletes such as Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Kawhi Leonard.
Although, with Fred VanVleet out of the game, and having just recently cut third-string point guard Lorenzo Brown, the Raptors only had one guy backing up Lowry in Delon Wright. Wright performed admirably in 22 minutes of play, recording 17 points and 6 boards.
2. Siakam, Delon, OG, Kawhi, and Danny Green are a Defensive Force to be Reckoned With
One of the Raptors' greatest strengths lies in their tall, long, athletic stretch-wings, who can all shoot the deep ball (at least to some degree).
Pascal Siakam, a long 6'9" (7'2" wingspan), OG Anunoby, a long 6'8" (a whopping 7'6" wingspan), Danny Green, a long 6'5" (6'10" wingspan), Delon Wright, a long-ish 6'5" (6'7" wingspan), and Kawhi Leonard, a long 6'7" (7'3" wingspan) make up one of the scariest defensive lineups in the NBA.
The only player there who isn't all that long is Delon, and for a point guard, he's tall enough at 6'5" to the point where he doesn't really need to be all that long to be a matchup nightmare.
Offensively against the Wizards, Kawhi carried with 41, 5, and 11, but Siakam had yet another strong showing with 24 and 19, and Delon and Danny both showed up (17 and 6 for Delon, 16 and 8 for Danny).
We don't get to see these guys all on the floor together all that often, but when we do it's always a treat, particularly on the defensive end.
3. The Wizards Had a Surprisingly Good Game in General
The Raptors saw contributions from more or less across the board, once again displaying their depth despite injuries to key players.
The Wizards didn't get quite that same team performance, but they had five guys in double-digit scoring to the Raptors' six, and that was with a weak game from usually-solid Tomas Satoransky.
This is mostly surprising because of the Wizards' general lack of depth, but some surprising guys showed up for Washington. Otto Porter, Bradley Beal, and Trevor Ariza played as well or slightly better than expected, but big men Jeff Green and Thomas Bryant performed well outside their capabilities, which was a big part of the Wizards' ability to stay in the game.
However, the biggest reason for the Wizards' relative success in the game was Bradley Beal and his triple-double of 43 points, 15 assists, and 10 boards in a game-high 55 minutes.
The Raptors maintained their hold on the first spot in the East with the win, while the Wizards slid further down with the loss.
The Wizards have three days until their next game against the Knicks, while the Raptors look to build on their recent success and make a statement in Boston against the Celtics on Wednesday.