Watson Shines

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Toronto Raptors Take Care of Magic in VanVleet’s Return to the Lineup

Fred VanVleet made his return to the Toronto Raptors, but it was two unlikely heroes who helped guide Toronto to a 113-102 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Paul Watson scored a career-high 30 points in his first NBA start, including 20 points in the third quarter, while Yuta Watanabe added 21 points off the bench on a night where the Raptors needed production with Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr. and Kyle Lowry all sitting out. Freddie Gil

“I had a tough little stretch of about three days,” Watson said of his coronavirus experience which forced him to miss 11 games. “but I feel like my preparation since then is really helping me get to where I am now. It is taking a toll, fatigue-wise, but I think it has helped me.”

Watson’s strong performance received plenty of praise from his head coach Nick Nurse following the Raptors’ victory.

“(Watson) got on one tonight, right?” Nurse said. “I’m not sure anybody was expecting that. He’s had a tough go of it of late, but he came back into form. He has really become a threat.”

With the win, the Raptors leap frog the Chicago Bulls for the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference and etch closer to a play-in tournament opportunity. Whether a chance at the play-in is something Raptors fans are looking forward to or not, it is re-assuring to see a number of the Raptors players step up and show promise over the past few weeks.

The Raptors are set to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday next.

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