NBA 2018-19: 3 Talking Points from the Toronto Raptors' Thrilling Win Over the Washington Wizards
The Toronto Raptors started out strong but laid an egg by the end of regulation time, resulting in the Wizards forcing a couple of overtimes.
Serge Ibaka came up with a dagger three-pointer with 15 seconds left on the clock helping Toronto survive the mess they created and come up with their fifth straight victory via a thrilling 140-138 win over the Washington Wizards.
The leaders of the East pulled through for their eighth win in the last ten games, as they improved to a league-best 33-12(0.733) record on the season.
Once tussling with the Bucks at the apex, the Raptors are now 1.5 games clear of second seed Milwaukee.
They are in line to meet the Celtics in Boston for the next matchup and will be eyeing to better their already exquisite 22-7 win-loss record against Eastern Conference teams.
The Wizards put up a fight for the ages, led by shooting guard Bradley Beal, but eventually, the night wasn't theirs to conquer as they snapped their two-game winning momentum.
They have now lost half of their last ten games and will be facing the Knicks in London next. The loss has brought them down to the 11th spot on the East leaderboard with an 18-26 record next to their name.
Let's draw out some key takeaways from this Raptors' electrifying win over the hosts in Wizards down the stretch.
#1 Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam shine bright in the hard-fought win
For a guy who always rests for the second game of a back-to-back, Kawhi played a season-high 45 minutes and portrayed All-Star caliber in a game that went back and forth till the final seconds.
He dropped a team-high total of 41 points along with 11 boards and 5 assists. He shot a fairly respectable 15-of-29 from the floor, also contributing with 3 steals and 2 blocks on the defensive end.
"Tonight he played like a superstar," Ibaka said. "That's how we need him to play and he did his job as a superstar. When we need him to step up and make big plays, he did them for us."
This was Kawhi's fourth 30+ point performance is the last six games as he averages almost 30 ppg across the previous ten matchups.
Pascal Siakam put together a solid double-double effort of 24 points and 19 rebounds(5 of which were on the offensive glass), coupled with three steals and two blocks as well.
He is averaging 15+ points across the 43 games he has started for Toronto this season and provides the length and athleticism to finish strongly at the rim that is characteristic of a legit NBA Power forward.