Scottie Barnes guides team to a 134-98 victory over Wizards but sustains foot sprain.


Scottie Barnes guides team to a 134-98 victory over Wizards but sustains foot sprain.

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Toronto, the new Raptors head coach, Darko Rajakovic, had the chance to observe the team’s rotation for almost three quarters.

Despite Scottie Barnes contributing 23 points and six rebounds, he had to exit the game early due to a sprained right foot as the Raptors cruised to a 134-98 victory over the Washington Wizards in a preseason match on Friday. Barnes’s departure abruptly concluded Rajakovic’s brief assessment of the full roster, as center Jakob Poeltl and forwards Precious Achiuwa and Otto Porter Jr. made their return from previous health concerns and injuries.

Reflecting on his performance, Achiuwa, who played for over 17 minutes and scored nine points with six rebounds, emphasized the importance of getting some game time to adapt to the team’s system.

Poeltl, returning from an undisclosed illness that had kept him sidelined throughout the week, had a productive stint, contributing eight points and nine rebounds over 18 minutes.

Porter, absent for almost a year following surgery on his left foot, made a cautious return with four points and four rebounds in 10 minutes off the bench.

Rajakovic acknowledged Porter’s gradual return, emphasizing the need to manage his playing time with a long-term perspective in mind.

Pascal Siakam added 15 points and eight rebounds, while O.G. Anunoby contributed 15 points for the Raptors, maintaining their perfect record of 4-0 in the preseason. The team looks forward to their home opener at Scotiabank Arena, where they will host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

Rajakovic underlined that the Raptors’ undefeated 4-0 record in exhibition play held little significance.

“Our focus is on preparing for the regular season, which begins Wednesday,” he emphasized. “It’s like asking me about our 1-4 record in the Summer League. It was about learning, improving, and developing our approach. Now, the real work starts as the regular season approaches.”

In the game, Deni Avdija led the Washington Wizards with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Eugene Omoruyi provided 16 points off the bench.

Despite the Wizards initially taking a 7-0 lead and extending it to a nine-point advantage, Pascal Siakam’s resilience enabled the Raptors to tie the game at 16-16 in the first quarter. Toronto secured its first lead through another Siakam layup on the following possession.

With contributions from Barnes and Boucher, the Raptors secured a 31-24 lead after the first quarter. Avdija’s three-pointer briefly gave the Wizards a 44-43 lead in the second quarter, but Toronto swiftly responded with an 11-0 run to regain control, leading 58-52 at halftime.

A strong performance in the third quarter, highlighted by McDaniels and despite Barnes exiting due to injury, propelled the Raptors to a commanding 101-74 lead entering the final quarter. Even in Barnes’s absence, Toronto’s dominance continued in the fourth, with notable plays from rookie forward Gradey Dick and Javon Freeman-Liberty.

In a roster update, the Raptors signed former 10th overall pick, Justise Winslow, while waiving Makur Maker. This move, along with the release of Mouhamadou Gueye and Jeff Dowtin Jr., brought the team’s roster to the league maximum of 15 players.

This report by The Canadian Press was initially published on October 20, 2023, authored by John Chidley-Hill.


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