Wembanyama comes as advertised, but Barnes real winner in Raptors' OT thriller

Get the latest from Mike Ganter straight to your inbox

Article content

There was no question who the focus of the game was going into things.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Victor Wembanyama — the consensus rookie of the year, assuming he hits the league’s new minimum games-played requirement — was the drawing card for not just a North American audience, but a worldwide audience that was able to take in Sunday afternoon’s tilt between the Raptors and San Antonio Spurs.

Article content

More than 132 countries, according to The Associated Press, took this one in, no doubt drawn by the hype surrounding the 7-foot-4 Frenchman who has turned the basketball world on its ear in the five short games he has played thus far in the NBA.

The Raptors, though, somehow managed to spoil the party for those hoping to celebrate along with the young rookie.

Recommended from Editorial

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

They didn’t make it easy on themselves, coming out like they had just rolled out of bed for the earlier-than-usual tipoff.

Down 19 after a half and by as many as 22 earlier in the second quarter, the Raptors needed to win the final quarter by 15 just to force overtime, where they pulled away for a 123-116 win.

Wembanyama came as advertised, blocking shots mere mortals have no chance of even getting to, not to mention his smooth shooting stroke, which took him to a 20-point night to go along with his nine rebounds and four assists and five blocks.

Wembanyama looked every bit the phenom — or unicorn — you have heard about, but once the Raptors got their heads into this game (a tape of Darko Rajakovic’s halftime speech would be entertaining), it wasn’t Wembanyama you found yourself watching as much as Scottie Barnes, who took this game over in the fourth quarter to give the Raptors a chance at the win.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Barnes finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, 19 of those points in the fourth quarter.


We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

And right there with him in terms of impact was Anunoby, who hounded Wembanyama all afternoon while putting up a career-best seven three-pointers on his way to a 24-point, seven-rebound game.

The Raptors turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, but committed just three more in the second, cleaning up their miscues and finding the energy level that was missing in the first half to get back into this one.

The Raptors will now have a few days to get ready for the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

[email protected]

Article content


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

    Advertisement 1