Raptors continue to win despite recent batch of injuries
The Toronto Raptors extended their winning streak to five when they beat the Philadelphia 76ers 107-95 on Wednesday night.
Point guard Fred VanVleet helped the Raptors with 22 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
“He also comes up big for us, being calm for doing what he does best, so that’s exciting to watch,” Fred’s teammate Norman Powell told TSN.
The Score’s NBA news editor, John Chick said VanVleet look totally recharged especially in his latest game.
“He came back from missing a couple games of injury and it looked like he was just totally refreshed,” he said.
Centre Marc Gasol finished the game off with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists.
After the game, Raptors’ point guard Kyle Lowry commented on Gasol’s recent performance to Sportsnet.
“We’ve been on him a little bit (to shoot),” he said. “I think he’s been on himself to make sure he’s looking for his own shot. Marc still can play basketball at a high level, and he’s proven it.”
Toronto is third in the Eastern Conference with a record of 30-14. They are only one and a half games behind the second-place team, the Miami Heat.
But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the Raptors last night. The team is still suffering from the injury bug this season.
In the second quarter, Raptors guard Patrick McCaw suffered a broken nose.
McCaw was reaching for a rebound when Philadelphia forward Norvel Pelle accidently hit him in the face with Pelle’s left hand.
The latest injury happened just after all of the Raptors players returned on last Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
During last night’s game, the first quarter didn’t start well for the Raptors. Toronto was trailing as many as 14 points.
They made a brief comeback, but that wasn’t enough take the lead. The 76ers led at the end of the first quarter with the score of 35-26.
Just as the Raptors were starting to take over the game, the sixers wouldn’t let them take the lead. Both teams traded runs for the duration of the second quarter.
At the end of the quarter, the game was tied 50-50.
The Raptors momentum from the first half quickly faded. The 76ers slowed down Toronto in the first few minutes of the third quarter with a strong defence. They also started the quarter with a quick 7-0 run.
Like the second quarter, both teams made runs in the third. Every time the Raptors cut the lead to five, the Sixers wouldn’t let the Raps overtake the game.
However, with VanVleet’s two three-pointers, the Raptors closed the quarter on an 18-6 run to take the lead with a 76-72 at the end of the third quarter.
The Raptors continued their push into the fourth quarter. But the Sixers did not give up. The 76ers cut the lead to six points with three minutes left in the game.
With just two minutes left, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse challenged an offensive foul call on power forward Pascal Siakam which was overturned. The overturn had Siakam go to the free throw line where he made one out of two free throws.
After that, VanVleet drained two three-pointers that eventually got the Raptors their win.
Chick said the one standout moment of last night’s game was seeing Lowry and VanVleet work together.
“The combination of Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet like seeing those guys together again, the way they play off each other,” he said. “Fred last night played more of the point guard so it’s more of that division of duty so to speak, like they’re really in sync as a as a combination.”
This Friday, Toronto will travel to New York City to face the Knicks as they look to increase their win streak to six.