Gary Trent Jr. called game!
The recently acquired swingman capped off the Toronto Raptors' 19-point comeback, draining the game-winner from beyond the arc to give his team a 103-101 win over the Washington Wizards.
After their 53-point blowout against the Golden State Warriors, the Raptors have now won two games in a row for the first time since late February, moving to within 1.0 game of the play-in seeds in the East.
Pascal Siakam led the charge with 22 points, while Trent Jr. and Malachi Flynn added 16 points each. Playing their fifth-straight game without Bradley Beal, the Wizards were led by another Russell Westbrook triple-double and 17 points apiece from Davis Bertans and Garrison Matthews.
Here are some key takeaways at the buzzer.
1. Undermanned Raptors
The Raptors were down to just nine available players with Fred VanVleet (hip), Rodney Hood (hip), Kyle Lowry (foot), Patrick McCaw (knee), Paul Watson Jr. (health and safety) and Jalen Harris (hip) all sidelined.
Nick Nurse went with a starting unit of DeAndre' Bembry, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Chris Boucher, but quickly found themselves in trouble, going down 12-1 after going without a field goal for 3.5 minutes. They started the game 0-for-8 as their offence struggled to get going without a point guard on the floor.
2. Gary Trent Jr. the hero!
In just his sixth game in a Raptors uniform, Gary Trent Jr. delivered a signature moment for his new team, burying the game-winning three at the buzzer to seal the win.
After Raul Neto missed a layup at the other end with the Wizards in front 101-100, Trent Jr. got the rebound and took it coast-to-coast, pulling up from three without hesitation.
🚨 TRENT. JR. CALLS. GAME. 🚨- NBA (@NBA) April 6, 2021
In his 6th game with the @Raptors, Gary Trent Jr. pushes the ball up as time winds down and hits the #TissotBuzzerBeater from distance! #ThisIsYourTime pic.twitter.com/CE9pmjbQOa
"Just made a play on the ball, looked at the clock and saw how much time was left. I knew if I got an open look I have a pretty decent chance so just stayed with it," he said post-game.
In the space of two weeks on his new team, Trent Jr. has recorded his career-high of 31 points (vs. OKC Thunder) and knocked down a game-winner. Not a bad start to life as Raptor.
"I knew that if I was given an opportunity I would be able to help and showcase what I can do," he added. "Coming here, they're giving me the opportunity of a lifetime so I've gotta take full advantage"
He finished with 16 points on 7-of-15 from the field and 2-of-6 from the 3-point line, stepping up in the absence of some key players.
Gary Trent Jr. last 4 Raptors games:- StatMuse (@statmuse) April 6, 2021
51.5 3P% pic.twitter.com/Z1ZRB3qFrK
2. Dominant fourth quarter
The Raptors trailed by as many as 19 points, but began to chip away at the lead in the third quarter as they clamped down on defence, thanks to Malachi Flynn, DeAndre Bembry, Yuta Watanabe and OG Anunoby, before completely dominating the fourth quarter, outscoring the Wizards 28-15.
The Wizards couldn't buy a bucket in the final frame, going 4-of-25 from the field and just 1-of-10 from the 3-point line.
After shooting 50 percent from the 3-point line in the first half (9-of-18), the Wizards missed 13 consecutive triples, going 3-for-17 in the second half.
3. Malachi Flynn to the rescue
In the absence of Lowry and VanVleet, Flynn was instrumental in turning the tide for the Raptors, pushing the pace and controlling the offence, while setting the tone for his teammates with his activity on the defensive end.
Flynn 👉🏽 Skills pic.twitter.com/uqKMuKU9Vt- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) April 6, 2021
He finished with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks, steadying the ship after the team got out to a slow start.
4. Assistant coach Fred
Sidelined with a hip flexor injury, VanVleet made his presence felt on the sidelines, consistently talking to his teammates, working with the coaching staff and doing his best to impact the game from the bench.
Coach VanVleet | #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/1it9HGxAFX- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) April 6, 2021
"He was great, really he was," Nurse said of VanVleet's involvement.
"He was really positive, motivating the guys. Really good. I thought his voice in timeouts and when guys were coming off the floor was a real positive influence. That was nice to see."
5. A tough night for Westbrook
It was a roller-coaster of a game for Russell Westbrook, who recorded his 19th triple-double of the season, racking up 10 points, 10 boards and nine assists in the first half alone.
While he finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, he was ice cold in the fourth quarter, going 0-of-9 from the field until the 1:50 mark of the quarter, before hitting two clutch shots, including a wing 3-pointer to help put the Wizards up 101-100 with 41 seconds to go.
Over his last 18 games, Westbrook has averaged 25 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, including nine triple-doubles, with the Wizards going 4-14 in that span.
6. Big body Baynes
The Aussie big man hasn't been near his best this season and struggled during their poor run in March, but he was back to doing what he does best against the Wizards.
In 20 minutes, Baynes recorded 10 points and eight rebounds, crashing the offensive glass and freeing up the Raptors guards with his trademark screens in the fourth, finishing a game-high +20.
He combined with Anunoby, Siakam, Flynn and Bembry with the game on the line, as the Raptors out-muscled and out-hustled the Wizards down the stretch.
Freddy loves it pic.twitter.com/g8i3tRjab4- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) April 6, 2021
7. What's next?
With the win, the Raptors now sit at 20-30 on the season, 11th in the Eastern Conference standings, just 1.0 game back of the Chicago Bulls.
They face a tough stretch coming up, with tonight's game the first of five in seven days as they host the Los Angeles Lakers on tomorrow at 7:30pm E.T. on TSN.
See you then.
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