FVV’s Night


Fred VanVleet’s 33-Point Night Leads Raptors to Fifth Straight Win

The Toronto Raptors are absolutely rolling.

Winners of their past four games, the Raptors rolled into Washington D.C. and took care of business, earning their fifth straight victory with a 109-100 win.

Playing once again without the services of rookie sensation Scottie Barnes, the Raptors received a huge performance from Fred VanVleet, who poured in 33 points on 13-for-22 shooting, while dishing out six assists. OG Anunoby followed up a career night with a strong 21-point, five rebound performance, while Gary Trent Jr. and Svi Mykhailiuk combined for 30 points.

Despite struggling on the offensive side of the ball to start the season, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse has leaned heavily on VanVleet to weather the storm.

“Early in the season, if we didn’t have transition, our half-court offence needed some work,” said Nurse. “We put in considerable work but it always helps when you’ve got a guy like Fred that can kinda control the tempo, he’s making some good play calls, he’s obviously scoring but he’s finding some people, too. He found some short rolls to Khem, he found some slot cutters, he found a kick-out three here and there, I think he kinda did a good job of calling OG’s number here and there when OG thought he could get something, he did a good job executing stuff out of timeouts, he was really good tonight.”

Outside of the usual suspects, the Raptors received huge minutes from Khem Birch, who finished the game with nine points and five rebounds off the bench. After boasting a net rating of +20 in his previous game against the Knicks, Birch was a +10 against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, playing sound defense, crashing the boards, and making all the right decisions on offense.

“He’s smart, he knows how to play,” said VanVleet of Birch. “He’s very unselfish. He screens. We just have a good chemistry. He knows where to be when I need him, he’s got great touch at the short roll where I found him late. They went to some blitzes and were trapping [me] and I was able to find him and he found his tough there a couple of times and he can pass from the short roll too.”

Improving to 6-3 on the season, the Raptors hope to have Barnes back in the fold on Friday night when they look to extend their win streak to six straight.


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