FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED
Mike Ganter’s takeaways from last night’s game at Washington
1 Kawhi makes it look easy
Despite spending the bulk of the early afternoon driving the basket, Kawhi Leonard did not get his first trip to the free throw line until the eight-minute mark of the third quarter. Despite that, he still finished with 41 points on 15-of-29 shooting, including 3-of-6 from distance. Leonard rarely complains about the lack of calls but one can only imagine how much he’d be scoring if he was actually getting the benefit of the whistle like every other superstar in the league.
2 Norm takes a beating
Norm Powell is becoming a magnet for elbows to the head and none of them seem to be drawing the expected foul calls. Jeff Green got him on Sunday in Washington. Powell also took heavy shots in the loss in San Antonio and in Milwaukee. Powell said he stayed down on this one hoping the officials would at least give it a second look, but to no avail.
3 Don’t sleep on Siakam
It seems with each and every passing game, Pascal Siakam’s bid for most improved player in the NBA gets another boost. Sunday in Washington he was going point for point most of the afternoon with Leonard before the veteran forward started to pull away in the fourth quarter. But not even Leonard could match Siakam’s work on the boards. His 19 rebounds were a career high and a team high for the season.
4 Beal makes his case
If there are 12 better players in the Eastern Conference than Bradley Beal right now, we haven’t seen them. Beal, particularly since John Wall went down but also on plenty of occasions before that, has proven himself to be all-star worthy. His triple-double on Sunday, his second of the year with at least 40 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists, makes him the only player in league history besides the great Oscar Robertson to have two such games in the same season.
5 In high theft mode
When Toronto’s defence is at its best it is generating steals in huge numbers. On Sunday the Raptors had 16, two off their season high set five days earlier against Atlanta. The thing about the Raptors’ highsteal games is they are always a fully shared team stat. Against the Wizards six different Raptors had two or more.