Quickley powers Raptors past Wizards 130-122

TORONTO – Even though he just had his best game of the season, Immanuel Quickley only wanted to talk about the Toronto Raptors winning consecutive games for the first time in six weeks.

Quickley had a double-double as the increasingly healthy Raptors fended off the Washington Wizards 130-122 on Sunday. Quickley finished with a season-high 31 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds as Toronto won back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game streak in late February.

“You say stats and stuff like that but the biggest part in the team game is just scratching out wins,” said Quickley, alluding to the Raptors’ 15-game losing skid through March. “All the guys, they’ve been great. The energy in practice has been unbelievable.

“Not even on the court but off the court, I feel like we’re gelling.”

RJ Barrett of Mississauga, Ont., scored 22 points with eight rebounds and seven assists for Toronto (25-53). Kelly Olynyk of Kamloops, B.C., had 21 points and nine boards. The Raptors last won consecutive games Feb. 22, 23 and 26.

Story continues below advertisement

Barrett and Quickley returned to the Raptors’ lineup on Tuesday in a 128-111 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers after lengthy bereavement leaves.

Gary Trent Jr. and Bruce Brown were both upgraded to active ahead of Sunday’s game. A series of injuries through March scuttled any hope Toronto had of earning a play-in berth.

“It’s a readjustment from not having anybody to having more guys and, at the same time, trying to find rhythm for those guys on the court,” said Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic. “Trying to find out who can be in the second unit and carry the second unit.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

“We tried different guys there for different stretches of time. We tried RJ, we had Gary with the second unit, we had Quickley in there.”

Rajakovic said pre-game he wasn’t sure if all-star forward Scottie Barnes (hand) or starting centre Jakob Poeltl (finger) would be back by the end of the season.

Story continues below advertisement

“A lot of teams would quit in this situation,” said Quickley. “Adversity can make some guys crumble and some teams, some coaches, crumble and I think other people rise to that occasion.”

Deni Avdija, Jordan Poole and reserve forward Patrick Baldwin also had double-doubles even as Washington (15-64) lost its third straight. Avdija had 32 points and 10 rebounds, Poole had 29 points and 12 assists, and Baldwin came off the bench for 16 points and 10 boards.

Although the Eastern Conference’s playoff picture is set, the final standings still matter to the Raptors.

Toronto needs to have the sixth-worst record in the NBA to keep its first-round pick in this summer’s draft. The draft lottery on May 12 could also shuffle the Raptors out of the bottom six, sending their pick to the San Antonio Spurs as part of last year’s trade for Poeltl.

Toronto has a 37.2 per cent chance to move into one of the draft’s top four picks and a nine per cent chance of selecting first overall.

An 18-6 run early in the first quarter had the Raptors flying out of the gates. The hosts led by as much as 29 points in the opening quarter. Barrett, Ochai Agbaji, and rookie forward Gradey Dick — coming off the bench — led all scorers with eight points apiece as Toronto built a 42-17 lead.

Story continues below advertisement

Woeful shooting by the Raptors in the second allowed the Wizards to climb back into the game. Toronto only made nine of its 24 field-goal attempts in the quarter, including 2-of-6 shooting from three-point range.

Avdija had 13 points in the second as Washington cut the Raptors lead to 63-50 by intermission.

Toronto maintained that lead throughout the third quarter but pulled away in the fourth, leading by as many as 18 points in the period. Still, Baldwin had 10 points and four rebounds in the quarter for Washington.

Dick left the game in the fourth quarter with a right groin contusion and did not return. Rajakovic did not have an update on his condition.

CARTER HONOURED — A tribute to Raptors great Vince Carter narrated by Canadian basketball stars Kia Nurse and Barrett ran during the first quarter. Carter was named to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2024 on Saturday.

UP NEXT — Toronto hosts Pascal Siakam and his Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.

Washington travels to Minnesota to face the Timberwolves on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 7, 2024.


Sponsored content