WASHINGTON (AP)Fred VanVleet scored a season-high 33 points, OG Anunoby added 21 and the Toronto Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 109-100 on Wednesday night for their fifth consecutive victory.
VanVleet hit 13 of 22 shots for the Raptors, who avenged a 15-point opening night loss at home to the Wizards two weeks ago while running their win streak longer than any last season.
”I’m not taking it for granted,” VanVleet said of this team’s start after a 12th-place Eastern Conference finish in 2020-21. ”Did you watch us last year? Yeah, I’m not taking none of this for granted. And that’s the beauty of having a young team. You can enjoy these wins and enjoy the growth.”
Svi Mykhailiuk and Gary Trent Jr. each added 15 points for Toronto, which spent the final 34 minutes with a lead that reached 16 in the third quarter.
Bradley Beal scored 25 points to lead Washington, which suffered consecutive losses for the first time this season while shooting 8 of 32 (25%) from 3-point range.
Montrezl Harrell added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who lost despite leading 23-6 in second-chance points and 40-34 in points in the paint.
”I feel like we didn’t put our 100% in the game,” said Deni Avdija, who scored 11 points off the bench for Washington. ”We’re not that good of a team to wait until the fourth quarter to turn it on. And I think we need to start our work earlier. … Teams are going to come at us, and they’re going to come at us fast.”
VanVleet gave Toronto its largest lead when he poured in seven consecutive points on a 3, a driving layup and two free throws to stretch it to 66-50.
With Toronto still up 10 in the fourth, Beal hit a pull-up and Harrell sank a leaner to cut it to 103-97 with 3:53 left. VanVleet answered with a running layup, and the Wizards made only one of their last six shots.
”It always helps when you’ve got a guy like Fred who can control the tempo,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said of VanVleet, who also had six assists. ”He’s making some good play calls. He’s obviously scoring, but he’s also finding some people, too.”
Raptors: F Scottie Barnes (sprained thumb) missed his second game and will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Toronto, said Nurse. … VanVleet has scored 15 or more points in seven consecutive games. … Precious Achiuwa had 10 rebounds.
Wizards: After spraining his left ankle early in Monday’s loss at Atlanta, F Davis Bertans is ”probably week to week,” coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. ”I don’t foresee him going this week.” … F Kyle Kuzma left in the third quarter with a right forearm bruise. … Rookie G Corey Kispert picked up his first career technical foul with 8:17 left in the game.
WNBA IN TORONTO?
Toronto rapper Drake voiced his desire on Instagram for a WNBA expansion team in his home city earlier Wednesday. Before the game, Nurse was asked his opinion.
”I think it would be great. I think Toronto should have a team,” Nurse said. ”All of us living up there know that this is like a golden age, the number of people playing, the amount of talent pouring out of a lot of cities up there. Both boys, girls, men, women, everything. I think the women should be represented. And Toronto with a WNBA team I imagine would be wildly successful.”
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said before Game 1 of the WNBA Finals last month the league is in the process of evaluating potential future expansion cities.
Raptors: Host Detroit on Friday.
Wizards: Host Memphis on Friday.
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