WASHINGTON - After some coaxing from his coach, DeMar DeRozan challenged his teammates to come out strong out of the all-star break.
DeRozan and Dwane Casey chatted on the plane ride over, with Casey making it clear what he expected out of the face of the franchise. The message was heeded. While John Wall put on a one-man show at the other end, Toronto continued to play as a complete team — a trend since a season-defining trade with Sacramento was made back in December — and the latest result was a 103-93 win in D.C.
“We talked last night as a team about the next 30 games, what to expect as a team and DeMar followed up this morning with a talk,” Casey said. “Now we’ve got to follow it up with action.”
Step 1 was a success. DeRozan was one of seven Raptors to score at least five points in the opening half, while Wall had 19 points through the opening 24 minutes, but got little help, aside from big men Marcin Gortat, Nene and Trevor Booker.