Wizards spoil Raptors’ long-awaited homecoming

TORONTO – 600 days after they’d performed a significant sport in Toronto, the Raptors lastly made their return.

For a few of them, coach Nick Nurse recommended, the emotion may need been an excessive amount of.

“It appeared to me we weren’t absolutely engaged and one thing was there, and it in all probability was that it was a fairly large second,” Nurse mentioned.

Bradley Beal scored 23 factors, Montrezl Harrell had 22, and the Washington Wizards spoiled the Raptors’ long-awaited return to Toronto with a 98-83 victory on Wednesday.

Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes had 12 factors apiece to high Toronto in what VanVleet mentioned felt like a “playoff ambiance.”

“We let the group down, that was a hell of a crowd,” he mentioned.

Story continues under commercial

OG Anunoby had 11 factors and 10 rebounds, whereas Goran Dragic and Montreal native Khem Birch every had 9 factors.

Anticipation had been sky excessive forward of Wednesday’s opener, however the rebuilding Raptors, with out veteran Kyle Lowry for the primary time in a decade, struggled from the opening whistle. They trailed by 20 factors within the first half. The hole grew to 29 within the third quarter.

VanVleet, who wasn’t happy along with his personal sport, significantly his 1-for-9 three-point taking pictures, mentioned his message within the locker-room to his younger teammates was: “I instructed you so.”

“I’ve been telling them for a month now, a month and a half. You may get all of the pats on the again and all of the hype and all the things that you really want. Pre-season was nice, coaching camp was nice. It doesn’t matter. There’s totally different lights on the market (when the common season begins),” he mentioned.

“Nerves and all that are available in a variety of totally different kinds and fashions,” he added.

Associated Movies

Story continues under commercial

A spirited comeback try, sparked by rookie and Toronto native Dalano Banton, lastly gave followers a motive to cheer. Banton entered the sport with 25 seconds left within the third, and promptly knocked down a buzzer-beating three from 49 ft out to slice the Wizards’ result in 81-59 with one quarter to play.

He by no means imagined his first NBA basket could be such a giant one.

“However I’m grateful it went in, and I’m glad that’s my first bucket and obtained it within the books,” the 21-year-old mentioned.

A dunk by Montreal native Birch punctuated an 11-4 Raptors run that pulled them to inside 15 factors, and introduced the capability crowd of 19,800 — together with Drake and Olympic decathlon champion Damian Warner — to life.

Anunoby linked on a three-pointer with 4:28 to play that minimize the distinction to 13. A Barnes free throw made it a 10-point sport, however that was as shut as they’d come.

The Raptors, who’re nonetheless with out Pascal Siakam who’s recovering from shoulder surgical procedure, have been scattered on the offensive finish via the primary three quarters, tossing up off-target three-pointers — they have been 4-for-25 from distance heading into the fourth quarter — and losing quick break possibilities.

“I nearly throw it all the way down to it’s a type of nights tonight,” Nurse mentioned. “There was a complete bunch of point-blank layups that simply saved discovering a option to roll off and so they have been type of spirit-takers slightly bit.”

Story continues under commercial

The take-away was these new-look Raptors have a protracted option to go. However on a great evening, they could possibly be enjoyable to observe.

“Pay attention, it’s going to be a few of these, proper?” VanVleet mentioned. “It’s what it’s, nothing we will do about it. At this level, we’re attempting issues, a variety of issues, and none of it labored out tonight. Hopefully, we’ll return to the drafting board and attempt to provide you with one thing that may work for us in Boston (on Friday).”

Toronto shot a horrible 30.9 per cent on the evening, 20.6 per cent from behind the arc. Washington, in the meantime, shot 45 per cent from the sector.

Solely 4 Raptors stay from the roster that performed in Toronto on Feb. 28, 2020, a sport in opposition to Charlotte that solely historical past made memorable. COVID-19 shuttered the NBA lower than two weeks later.

Final season, border restrictions and COVID-19 protocols compelled the Raptors to name Amalie Area in Tampa, Fla., dwelling — however it was a poor substitute for the actual factor. They have been the one NBA crew compelled to play outdoors their market.

The Raptors have been permitted 50 per cent capability at Scotiabank for the pre-season, getting the inexperienced mild from the Ontario authorities on Oct. 12 for a full crowd.

The emotional pre-game ceremony featured a spoken phrase poem “We Again,” by Hannah Flores. Rapper Kardinal Offishall carried out “The Anthem,” his iconic ode to Toronto.

Story continues under commercial

Banton, who grew up within the Toronto neighbourhood of Rexdale — he’s the primary Canadian ever drafted by the Raptors — couldn’t comprise his big grin throughout participant introductions.

“Simply to play in entrance of your house crowd and listen to that noise and listen to that chant is nice,” he mentioned. “I admire all these followers who’re simply loving me and taking me in with such open arms.”

VanVleet was met with a raucous ovation when he took the mic at centre court docket. He thanked the group for his or her help, saying “We’re all enthusiastic about this yr, so let’s get it began the fitting approach.”

Washington had different concepts.

The Raptors obtained off to a tough begin, taking pictures 29.2 per cent within the first quarter to path 26-18 heading into the second.

They have been even shakier within the second quarter, and when Raul Neto scored on a working reverse layup with 3:47 left within the half, the Wizards went up by 20. Washington led 57-37 heading into the halftime break.

The Raptors are in Boston on Friday, then return dwelling to host the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Oct. 20, 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Source link


News7h: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button