That, ladies and gentlemen, was just a good old-fashioned beat down. What you saw tonight is the result you can expect under the rare circumstance that every Raptor plays to his potential and beyond.
Toronto shot 58 per cent from the floor, had 72 points at the half, surpassed 100 in the third quarter and had seven players in double figures. You may not see a more complete victory all season.
The Raptors looked right from the opening minute. DeMar DeRozan scored Toronto’s first points on an aggressive drive to the basket. From that point on, the Raptors were off and running, and never looked back.
Tonight’s game was special for a couple of reasons. One, I’m pretty sure it’s the first time all three of the Raptors “Young Onez” (DeRozan, Weems and Johnson) started together. Second, and much more importantly, it was the NBA debut of Ed Davis.
After a long wait, the rookie did not disappoint, netting 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks in 24 solid minutes. While Davis’ movement in a bulky knee brace was a little awkward, you could see he has the hop in his step already. What I was most impressed with was his defensive awareness and rebounding position on pretty much every play.
There was a lot more to like from a Raptors’ perspective than just Davis, though.
After a stretch of disappearing acts from DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems, the pair combined for 38 points tonight, on 14-of-23 shooting in 28 minutes a piece. They also combined for 11 rebounds and six assists.
Andrea Bargnani ate up the Wizards defence for 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting in just 26 minutes of action. Jose Calderon continued his climb back to the good old days with a solid performance of 11 points, eight assists and just one turnover. Calderon was also very efficient shooting the ball, finishing 5-of-7.
Leandro Barbosa provided more than just a spark off the bench, dropping 16 quick points in 21 minutes.
And I have to mention Jerryd Bayless tonight. No, not just because he had his best offensive game as a Raptor with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting or because he added five assists and six rebounds. The reason Bayless deserves honourable mention tonight is because he shut down John Wall. Yes, Wall was coming off of an injury, but make no mistake, Jerryd Bayless took it to him and outplayed the rookie tonight.
There were many occasions when it seemed that Wall wanted to blow by Bayless, only to realize that he couldn’t. When’s the last time you could say that about a Raptors point guard?
With news that Reggie Evans will be out eight weeks after having surgery on his broken foot, this has to come as a promising sign: the Raptors out-rebounded a lengthy, athletic Wizards team by a count of 52-30.
No, a demolishing of the Wizards is not a statement. But it’s the way in which the Raptors grabbed their seventh win that should have fans optimistic.
None of the Raptors’ previous six victories truly demonstrated the potential this team has like Wednesday night’s victory did. DeRozan, Weems, Bargnani, Bayless and even Ed Davis all had a hand in the blowout.
In a season of question marks, that’s a nice step in the right direction.
Raptors Player of the Game: DeMar DeRozan – 28 Min, 20 Pts, 7-11 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 5-7 FT, 6 Reb, 3 Ast
Wizards Player of the Game: JaVale McGee - 27 Min, 21 Pts, 8-12 FG, 5-8 FT, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk
Goat of the Game: Gilbert Arenas – 29 Min, 7 Pts, 1-10 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 5-6 FT, 2 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO (Gil was completely invisible in this one. He’s had some nice games this season, but he looked like a washed up D-Leaguer tonight, and I’m not exaggerating)
Random side-note: I thought it was nice to see Drake sitting courtside, in an average-guy Jays hoodie, for a random Wednesday night ball game against the Wizards.