Toronto Raptors

5 takeaways from the Toronto Raptors' win over the Washington Wizards

The Raptors took care of business in their return to Toronto.

Following a four-game road trip, the Raptors hosted the Washington Wizards on Friday and beat their Eastern Conference rival by a final score of 125-107.

Kawhi Leonard led the way with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Kyle Lowry came close to another double-double with 15 points and nine assists.

Here are five takeaways from Toronto's 16th win of the season.

Fred VanVleet (NBA Getty Images)

01 A hot start

The Raptors got the game off to a near-perfect start with 38 points in the first quarter. OG Anunoby led the way in the scoring department with eight points (2-2 3PT) off the bench, but Toronto had seven other players get on the scoreboard in the opening frame.

Kyle Lowry set the tone with his passing. The Raptors assisted on 12 of their first 14 baskets, five of which were set up by the four-time All-Star.

Fred VanVleet kept that unselfish play going when Lowry went to the bench, scoring six points and dishing out a couple of assists in only two minutes of action. He hit a pair of triples himself and set Anunoby up for a wide open one in the closing seconds of the quarter to give the Raptors a 38-26 lead.

OG Anunoby (NBA Getty Images)

02 The second unit

The Raptors are still without Norman Powell (left shoulder subluxation), but OG Anunoby and C.J. Miles were both active on Friday for the first time since Toronto's loss to New Orleans on Nov. 12.

While Anunoby did more damage in the scoring column with 15 points, Miles made more of an impact in his minutes than it might look on the box score. Even when he isn't making shots, having a proven 3-point shooter on the floor creates valuable spacing for others, like on plays like this:

Worried about Kawhi Leonard kicking it out to Miles for a wide open 3-pointer, Tomas Satoransky gravitated towards the veteran on the perimeter instead of retreating to the paint. That opened up the lane for Leonard to attack the basket for his easiest points of the night.

The Raptors got even more bench production out of Fred VanVleet (13 points), Serge Ibaka (12 points) and Delon Wright (10 points) against the Wizards. The bench combined to score 59 points on the night, a sizeable increase of the 34.5 points per game they averaged on their recent four-game road trip.

Danny Green (NBA Getty Images)

03 3-point shooting

3-point shooting has been the difference in Toronto's wins and losses this season.

Whereas they've combined to make 36.9 percent of their 3-point attempts in their 16 wins, they've combined to make 24.5 percent of their 3-point attempts in their four losses.

Fortunately for the Raptors, they had it rolling from deep on Friday, as they made a season-high 17 3-point attempts against the Wizards. OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet and Danny Green each drained three triples, Kyle Lowry and Delon Wright each made two and Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam and C.J. Miles each made one.

For better or worse, this team continues to look completely different when the deep ball is falling.

Serge Ibaka (NBA Getty Images)

04 Serge Ibaka the Shot Blocka

Serge Ibaka has gotten a lot of attention for the improvements he's made on offense so far this season, but he's been equally as impressive defensively.

Ibaka was at his best on that end of the floor against the Wizards, tying a season-high with four blocks in his 26 minutes off the bench. He's now blocking 1.4 shots per game this season and holding opponents to 51.9 percent shooting at the rim, one of the best marks in the league.

Ibaka also chipped in with 12 points, nine rebounds and two assists in another all-around effort on Friday. The Raptors outscored the Wizards by 23 points with him on the court, giving him the highest plus-minus of the game.

Kawhi Leonard (NBA Getty Images)

05 Kawhi Leonard

The Raptors were without Kawhi Leonard in their first matchup with the Wizards this season, and while they managed to escape Washington with the win, having the two-time All-Star on the court for their second matchup sure made a difference.

In his 30 minutes on the court, Leonard scored a game-high 27 points (12-for-22 FG) and pulled down 10 rebounds. He was at his best in the third quarter, when he helped the Raptors overcome a run from the Wizards to start the frame with 10 points in eight minutes.

Leonard also dished out a couple of assists in the third quarter. One of them set OG Anunoby up for a wide open 3-pointer when the defense collapsed on his drive, the other set the sophomore up for a layup off of a well-timed cut.

Leonard is now averaging 24.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game on the season. The points and assists are the second-highest marks of his career and the rebounds are a career-high.

If he can keep this up, there's no doubt Leonard will deserve some MVP consideration.

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