Anunoby scores 29, VanVleet has 28 as Raptors rout Wizards
Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) and Toronto Raptors forward O.G. Anunoby (3) battle for the ball during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Friday, March 24, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ian Harrison, The Associated Press
Published Sunday, March 26, 2023 10:26PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, March 26, 2023 10:26PM EDT
TORONTO (AP) — O.G. Anunoby scored 29 points, Fred VanVleet had 28 and the Toronto Raptors never trailed in a 114-104 win over Washington Wizards on Sunday.
Pascal Siakam had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Jakob Poeltl had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Anunoby had 11 made baskets, two shy of his career-high. All four of his 3-pointers came in the first quarter.
“O.G. obviously had it going tonight,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.
Ninth-place Toronto clinched the three-game season series with the Wizards and maintained a three-game lead over 11th-place Washington in the Eastern Conference standings. Both teams have seven games remaining.
Toronto and Atlanta have identical 37-38 records, but the Hawks won two of three against the Raptors this season to clinch the tiebreaker.
Scottie Barnes scored 13 points in his return to the starting lineup after missing two games because of a sore left wrist as the Raptors won for the ninth time in 10 home games.
Kristaps Porzingis scored 26 points and Corey Kispert had 19 for the Wizards, who have lost eight of 10.
Washington made 18 turnovers, leading to 25 points for Toronto, and was outscored 27-11 in second-chance points.
“Our ball security wasn’t where it should be,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “Obviously they thrive in that area. We allowed their strengths to beat us.”
Deni Avdija and Johnny Davis each scored 15 points for Washington and Daniel Gafford had 10.
The short-handed Wizards played without guard Bradley Beal (left knee) for the third straight game, while forward Kyle Kuzma (right ankle) sat for the fourth straight game. Washington was also without guard Monte Morris (left groin).
“Right now, those guys are a level higher,” Porzingis said of Toronto. “ Us without our main guys, it’s a difficult task.”
Anunoby almost single-handedly outscored the Wizards with a career-high 18 points in the first quarter as Toronto led 37-21 after one. Anunoby shot 7 for 10 in the first, making 4 of 6 from long range.
“He got hot,” Porzingis said. “He was hitting 3’s, he was hitting some post-up shots. He was hitting everything else.”
Held scoreless in the opening quarter, Siakam scored 11 points in the second to give the Raptors a 63-46 halftime lead.
Porzingis scored 12 points in the third as Washington outscored Toronto 38-24. The Wizards closed to within a point, 80-79, on a 3 by Davis with 2:16 left in the quarter, but were unable to take the lead. Toronto took an 87-84 lead to the fourth.
Anunoby scored five points as the Raptors opened the fourth with a 13-3 run to restore their double-digit lead.
Wizards: Shot 1 for 8 from 3-point range in the first quarter, but went 15 for 28 over the final three quarters. Washington shot 8 for 12 from long range in the third. … Former Raptor Delon Wright shot 2 for 9 and scored five points. Wright had eight assists and seven rebounds. … Lost their fourth straight road game. … Avdija had nine rebounds and seven assists.
Raptors: F Precious Achiuwa also returned after missing two games because of a sore right hamstring. … G Gary Trent Jr. (right elbow) sat for the third straight game. … G Will Barton left in the first quarter because of a sprained left ankle and did not return.
SPIN TO WIN
Barnes forced a steal and finished with a 360-degree dunk for his first basket of the game.
“I thought it was great,” Anunoby said.
Toronto has won or tied the past 12 season series with Washington. The Raptors lost three of four to the Wizards in 2007-08.
The Raptors won without trailing for the fifth time. They also did it Dec. 7 against the Lakers, Jan. 12 against Charlotte, Jan. 28 at Portland, and March 14 against Denver.
Wizards: Host Boston on Tuesday.
Raptors: Host Miami on Tuesday.