The Toronto Raptors secured their fourth straight win on Friday night defeating the Washington Wizards (8-18) 122-118. The game ended intensely. The Wizards worked to cut down Toronto’s 18 point lead, tying the ball game with minutes to play. Toronto showed their resilience down the stretch and secured their twentieth win on the season. Their 20-8 record leaves them ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto’s Top 3 Performers

Kyle Lowry had his second straight star caliber performance and looks to be back on track. The five time all-star struggled initially after his injury but has improved drastically as of late. This improvement couldn’t come at a better time, as Toronto is suffering a plethora of injuries. Lowry lead the charge for the Raptors offensively with a team-high 26 points and 9 assists.

This game served to remind the league that Serge Ibaka is a starting level center who comes off the bench. Utilizing his skill-set of immense strength and soft shooting touch Ibaka produced 23 points. His mid-range elbow jumper off the pick and pop was money as always while also being an effective three-point shooter, shooting 67% (2/3). He was able to abuse the weaker players on the Wizards in order to battle for his game-high 10 rebounds. His impact moving forward will be the primary reason the Raptors won’t fall off drastically as they wait for Marc Gasol to return from injury.

Fred VanVleet returned from his right-knee contusion and almost secured a triple double with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. While his shooting 33% (6/18) shows the efficiency isn’t there quite yet, his activity off the ball and as a passer allows him to consistently threaten opposing defences. Having two play-makers in the back court is a luxury Toronto is going to take full advantage of. This is especially true when both are able to effectively space the floor and shoot the three ball.

Everybody Eats

The Raptors are back to their patented next man-up mentality. Beyond the aforementioned three players OG Anunoby, Patrick McCaw, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson all scored in double digits. Seeing this production up and down the line-up is relieving. The Raptors depth is the most valuable and also the most underrated aspect of the roster. Everybody comes ready to play when their number is called and that truly mitigates the impact these injuries have on the roster while key players were out.

Raptors Injury Report

Marc Gasol will miss “a period of weeks” with his left hamstring injury (via Adrian Wojernowski). Both Pascal Siakam (stretched groin) and Norman Powell (subluxation of his left shoulder) are out indefinitely (via Marc J. Spears). Look for Toronto to play it safe with these injuries moving forward while stock for players such as Terence Davis and Ronde Hollis-Jefferson skyrockets with a higher workload.

Up Next

Toronto hosts the Dallas Mavericks (18-9) at 3:30 PM/EST. The Mavericks while undermanned are still a dangerous team with Kristaps Porzingis at the helm. The Raptors will have their work cut out for them as they look to improve to five straight victories.