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Powell has the hot hand as Raps tie franchise scoring record in thumping Wizards
Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) drives to the net with Washington Wizards guard Gary Payton II (20) trailing during first half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, January 17, 2020 9:46PM EST
TORONTO - Norman Powell had 28 points off the bench and Marc Gasol added a season-high 20 points as the Toronto Raptors tied the franchise scoring record by thumping the Wizards 140-111 Friday.
Seven Raptors scored in double figures as Toronto (27-14) extended its winning streak over Washington to seven games - and won its fifth straight at home over the Wizards. Since 2014-15, Toronto is 17-3 against Washington during the regular-season.
Troy Brown Jr. led Washington (13-28) with 22 points.
It was all Toronto with Washington's lone lead (3-2) coming in the first minute of the game.
The Raptors forced 28 Washington turnovers and scored 34 fast-break points. On offence they moved the ball selflessly (albeit with 19 turnovers of their own).
Leading 100-76 after three quarters on Gasol's fifth three-pointer of the game at the buzzer, rookie Terence Davis increased the lead to 27 with a three-pointer and scored the Raptors' first seven points of the fourth.
Gasol tied his career high for three-pointers, making six-of-seven, while Davis tied his career high with 23 points. O.G. Anunoby finished with 18 points.
And this time, Toronto held onto the lead.
Toronto had yet another injury scare when star guard Kyle Lowry hobbled to the locker-room with 2:38 remaining in the first quarter after a collision with Jordan McRae while trying to take a charge. He left favouring his right leg but was soon back on the bench.
Lowry, his right knee wrapped, returned to the fray with 7:15 remaining in the second quarter. His movement seemed a little sticky but it didn't stop him from sinking a long-distance three off-balance with a Wizard draped all over him.
McRae had to be helped off the court early in the second quarter after turning his left ankle. He did not return with what the Wizards said was a sprained ankle.
The game marked the halfway point of the Raptors' season.
Toronto, which has been above .500 at the halfway point of the last seven seasons (2013-20) was a franchise-best 29-12 (.707) after 41 games the previous two campaigns (2017-19).
This season's record is more than decent considering the injuries the team has had to deal with. No one would have predicted that Davis would be the only Raptor to appear in every game this season.
Pascal Siakam (groin), Serge Ibaka (ankle), Gasol (hamstring), Lowry (thumb) and Powell (shoulder) have all missed time this season with Raptors players missing a combined 140-plus games to injury.
“It hasn't been easy but there has been some positives,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said prior to the game. “We've seen lots of minutes by lots of guys. Different ways. We've been forced into a lot of different defences and lineups and all kinds of things.”
“Do we know who we are?” he added. “Yeah, I think so. I think we've got a good team out there.”
Guard Fred VanVleet, the last missing piece in Toronto's injury puzzle, sat out his fifth game in a row with a hamstring issue. But Nurse said VanVleet was expected to return Saturday in Minnesota “if everything goes to plan.”
As he did midweek in Oklahoma City, Nurse opted for size with starts for Gasol, Ibaka, Siakam and Anunoby alongside Lowry.
Toronto built an early lead with Washington committing three turnovers in the first two minutes. An 18-4 Raptors run padded the advantage.
The first quarter was noteworthy for a jump ball matchup between the six-foot-10 Ibaka and five-foot-nine Isaiah Thomas. Not surprisingly the big man won but the ball went to a Wizard.
Toronto shot 68.2 per cent and led by as many as 15 in the first quarter, with 12 of those points coming off eight Washington turnovers. Anunoby had 11 points in the quarter.
A 13-0 Raptors run extended the lead to 24 in the second quarter before Washington cut the margin to 65-51 at the half. Powell and Anunoby, who made seven-of-eight shots, each had 16 points in the half as Toronto moved the ball nicely.
The Wizards chipped away at the deficit in the third quarter, cutting it to nine at 77-68. But an 8-0 Toronto run restored order.
The Raptors, who nearly blew a 30-point lead last time out in the 130-121 win Wednesday over the Thunder, came into the game looking to end a 10-game streak alternating wins and losses.
Prior to Oklahoma City, Toronto let an 18-point lead slip away in a 105-104 loss to visiting San Antonio last Sunday.
Washington, which had the injury bug worse than Toronto, arrived on the back of losses to Chicago and Utah. The Wizards have lost 11 of their last 16.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2020.