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Anunoby, VanVleet power Raptors past Wizards

TORONTO – O.G. Anunoby scored a game-high 29 points, Fred VanVleet added 28 and the Toronto Raptors pulled out a 114-104 victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday.

Anunoby scored 18 of his points in the first quarter, setting a new career-high for points in a single frame.

Pascal Siakam had 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Jakob Poeltl contributed a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double for Toronto (37-38). The Raptors took the season series 2-1 with the victory and have won five of their last seven games.

The win also allowed the Raptors to hold on to ninth spot in the Eastern Conference with Chicago being one-half game behind after beating the Los Angeles Lakers 118-108 earlier Sunday.

Kristaps Porzingis led the way with 26 points for Washington (33-42), which was missing starters Bradley Beal, Monte Morris and Kyle Kuzma due to injury.

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The Wizards have lost five of their last six and sit 3 1/2 games back of Chicago for the 10th seed — and final play-in spot — in the East.

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Anunoby started out hot, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the opening six minutes, and the Raptors took a quick 20-9 edge in the first quarter. But it was Scottie Barnes who made his presence felt early with a steal, followed by a crowd-pleasing 360 dunk.

VanVleet swiftly countered a 7-0 Wizards run later in the frame as part of a 9-0 Toronto run. VanVleet scored three of his 11 first-quarter points from long-range with 4.1 seconds left and the Raptors took a 37-21 advantage entering the second.

Porzingis helped Washington cover some distance, scoring five straight in a 9-0 run to make it a 43-35 game with 6:43 left. However, it was Siakam who took the reins for Toronto, scoring his first 11 points of the game in the frame to keep Washington at bay.

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Up 49-40 with 3:55 left, the Raptors went on a 12-0 run thanks to eight straight points from VanVleet, including a fadeaway jumper at the shot-clock buzzer, and a double-pump reverse dunk by Anunoby on a fast break. Toronto went into halftime up 63-46.

The Wizards started the third quarter strong, outscoring the Raptors 16-4 in the first 3:37 of the frame. With 2:16 remaining, Johnny Davis hit a three-pointer for Washington to make it an 80-79 game.

But it was VanVleet who struck again, going on a 7-2 run of his own to make it a six-point game. Another Davis three, though, with 14.1 seconds remaining left Toronto with a 87-84 edge with one quarter to go.

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Barnes gave the Raptors an 11-point lead with a layup 2:48 into the fourth quarter. Anunoby’s layup with 5:33 left capped a 12-3 run to put Toronto ahead 108-90 — its largest lead since the second quarter.

The Wizards failed to close within 10 the remainder of the way.


Raptors forwards Precious Achiuwa (right hamstring tightness) and Barnes (left wrist soreness) made their returns to the lineup after missing the previous two games.

Guards Gary Trent Jr. (right elbow stiffness), Dalano Banton (left thumb sprain) and forward Joe Wieksamp (right hamstring strain) were out. Barton exited the game in the first quarter with a left ankle sprain and was ruled out for the remainder of the game.

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Raptors: Close out their four-game homestand against the Miami Heat on Tuesday.

Wizards: Return home to host the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2023.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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