Washington Wizards v Toronto Raptors

Three takeaways from Raptors' series-clinching win over Wizards

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (Getty Images)

Take a deep breath, Raptors fans. There will not be a first-round playoff collapse this season.

With a 102-92 victory on Friday night, the Raptors advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals, capturing their fifth playoff series win in franchise history. This was not your typical No. 1 vs. No. 8 playoff matchup, but the better team ultimately came out on top.

Let's take a look at three key takeaways from Game 6...

Raptors' bench mob gets back to business

The starting unit carried Toronto for much of the series, which was certainly a departure from the usual script. The Raptors' reserves averaged more than 40 points per game in the regular season and held the highest plus-minus mark in the NBA (plus-3.6). It was certainly a surprise to see that crew struggle against the Wizards.

But Dwane Casey trusted his bench group, leaving Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, C.J. Miles, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl out for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. That five-man lineup started the final frame with an 11-2 run, and the Raptors won the quarter by 15 points, sealing the win. Kyle Lowry also seamlessly joined a few of the bench guys at the six-minute mark, scoring clutch buckets down the stretch to extend his team's lead.

Toronto's bench mob made an impact all season long, often proving to be the difference against opponents lacking depth. That's exactly what happened Friday night.

The importance of Fred VanVleet

Sure, VanVleet isn't a household name among casual NBA fans, but his return from a shoulder injury was huge.

He only played 19 minutes, totaling five points, four assists and four rebounds. However, his ability to organize the offense and harass Wizards guards for 94 feet changed the complexion of the game in the first half. The biggest number to illustrate VanVleet's worth? He finished plus-12 in the box score.

VanVleet simply makes the right plays and does all of the little things to help his team win games.

John Wall, Bradley Beal win battle but lose war

Wall and Beal combined for 55 point in Game 6, nearly 60 percent of Washington's total output. The dynamic duo also outplayed Lowry and DeMar DeRozan for significant portions of the series. That's not how a team advances to the next round, though.

Markieff Morris (12 points) was the only Wizards player outside of Wall and Beal to hit double-digit scoring. Filling in for the injured Otto Porter Jr., Kelly Oubre Jr. managed only three points on 1-of-7 shooting.

The Raptors attacked from multiple angles - the Wizards had two options. Game over.

More from NBA.com

Jonquel Jones, DiJonai Carrington, Connecticut Sun, WNBA Power Rankings
WNBA Power Rankings: Contenders make way
Gilbert McGregor
Toronto Raptors rookie Scottie Barnes
Raptors rookie Barnes 'couldn't be happier'
Scott Rafferty
Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid.jpeg
Fact or Fiction: Pressing storylines facing 76ers
NBA.com Staff
Jaren Jackson Jr., Kevin Porter Jr. and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are among the leading MIP candidates for 2021-22 NBA season
Our picks for this season's Most Improved Player
NBA.com Staff
76ers depth chart for 2021-22 season
Benyam Kidane
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Are the 76ers real contenders this season?
Benyam Kidane
More News