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Siakam scores season-high 39 as Raptors rally to win over Wizards

Pascal Siakam Toronto Raptors Kyle Kuzma Washington Wizards Pascal Siakam Kyle Kuzma - The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Even though Pascal Siakam scored a season-high 39 points, the all-star forward still didn't get the Toronto Raptors' chain for hardest working player on the team.

That honour instead went to Montreal's Chris Boucher.

Siakam had 22 points in the third quarter to help Toronto overcome a 21-point deficit in a 111-107 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday. Siakam also had 11 rebounds and seven assists but Boucher was a force off the bench, with seven points, six rebounds, three blocks, and a plus-14 defensive rating in less than 21 minutes of play.

"Chris was unbelievable, man," said Siakam. "Chris's energy, whatever he brought to the game, he was blocking shots, finishing in transition, just playing solid basketball.

"Just his energy, I thought he deserved it for sure."

Head coach Darko Rajakovic said that when he awards someone the Raptors' chain it's about more than statistics.

"(Boucher) was ready to go out there," said Rajakovic. "It's a long season. All the guys are going to be in rotation, out of rotation, starting, not starting.

"They've got to stay ready and that's why tonight the chain went to Chris Boucher."

Scottie Barnes scored eight of his 19 points in the fourth as Toronto (5-5) kicked off a four-game homestand with a win. He also pulled down nine rebounds. Jakob Poeltl finished with 13 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

Forward O.G. Anunoby and guard Gary Trent Jr. were both ruled out of the Raptors' lineup ahead of the game. Anunoby lacerated a finger on his right hand doing household chores on Sunday. Trent was out with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

"I think we’re resilient," said Siakam. "We can’t come into games thinking that things are going to happen for us or thinking that’s going to be easy or everything is going to go our way.

"That’s not how life works."

Kyle Kuzma had 34 points as the Wizards (2-8) dropped their third straight. Daniel Gafford added 14 points and nine rebounds.

Washington led by seven after the first quarter and 19 after intermission. Kuzma sank a three-pointer early in the third to open up a 21-point Wizards lead.

But Rajakovic spoke to his team at the break about focusing on more than the game's score.

"I told them 'I don’t expect you to go out there and win the game but I expect you to go out there and play with joy, play with fun and compete at a much higher level,'" said Rajakovic.

The Raptors, especially Siakam, responded in the third quarter, outscoring the visitors 36-27.

Siakam caught an alley-oop pass from Barnes for a layup off the glass with a minute left in the third to pull Toronto to within 10. The 19,800 fans at Scotiabank Arena roared as the highlight-reel play unfolded.

"You can't get everything back all at once," said Siakam. "You have to take it one possession at a time.

"You've just got to be patient with it, continue to work the game."

Siakam's layup capped an 11-0 Raptors run that made the game competitive again and had Toronto trailing 91-81 with a quarter to go.

The layup also gave Siakam 22 points in the third, the second most points he's scored in a single quarter in his career. He had 25 in the first quarter of a 110-106 victory over San Antonio on Jan. 26, 2020.

"It always seems like he can win the game," said Boucher. "It shows how competitive he is but also how much he loves this team."

Washington opened the fourth with a 9-3 run, then traded buckets with Toronto for the next few minutes.

Barnes drove through the lane with 5:06 left to play for a layup that cut the Wizards' lead to 107-99 and force a Washington time out. It was the closest the Raptors had been since early in the second quarter.

He followed that with a pair of free throws and, after several possessions by both teams, Boucher dunked to cut Washington's lead to four.

Barnes grabbed a defensive rebound then made a four-foot jumper with 1:29 left to play to make it 107-105. A bad pass by Deni Avdija sparked a Raptors' fast break, with Boucher finishing it off to tie the game.

Siakam hit a step-back jumper in the paint for Toronto's first lead of the game with 7.6 seconds left on the clock.

"That shot is always there for me," said Siakam. "I work on it every day, and obviously, luckily, it went in.

"I’ll take than shot 100 times out of 100."

After a Washington timeout, Kuzma stepped out of bounds with the ball for a turnover. Raptors point guard Dennis Schroder raced around the floor with the ball to kill time before Kuzma fouled him. He sank the ensuing free throws for the game's final score.

UP NEXT — Toronto's four-game homestand continues on Wednesday as it hosts the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Wizards return to Washington to host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2023.