Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors
When and Where: Tuesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. ET at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON
The Wizards appeared to have some control in Game 1 of the series, but Toronto had a strong half to secure its first Game 1 win in over 15 years. The Wizards received nice contributions from Markieff Morris and Michael Scott. The Raptors, who were without sixth man of the year candidate Fred VanVleet, got 18 points off the bench from Delon Wright. Getting the Game 1 monkey off their back could be huge for the remainder of the series for the Raptors.
Slowing Down the Raptors
Washington had a strong second quarter Saturday, but the Wizards really struggled to stop the Raptors in the second half, especially the fourth quarter. The Wizards’ bench didn’t have an answer for the depth of the Raptors, which could even get worse with the return of VanVleet in the near future. Washington’s John Wall struggled to score, despite scoring 23 points. Wall was six-of-20 from the field, but he did finish with 15 assists, most, however, came in the first half. The Wizards should get better and more efficient scoring games from Bradley Beal in this series, but Washington cannot expect Michael Scott to be as efficient as he was in Game 1.
Otto Porter Jr. was a shell of himself offensively. He didn’t do much Saturday, shooting only seven times, even though he was extra efficient, which could be an issue if that doesn’t change. Porter needs to be a bigger factor for the Wizards if they want to have any chance to compete in this series. The Wizards need to win the starter minutes, because there’s little chance Washington’s bench units can compete with Toronto’s bench units. It’s hard to win a series down 2-0, so expect Washington to be desperate to split the series Tuesday night.
Bench Keeps Rolling
OG Anunoby might have started, but he’s a role player who exceeded expectations in the Game 1 win. He finished with 12 points, and a team-best +11. His defense was essential, too. The Raptors’ Delon Wright was efficient offensively off the bench. Even without VanVleet, Toronto’s bench unit was terrific Saturday. The Raptors are such a dangerous offensive team, especially with Serge Ibaka being capable of three-point shooting. Ibaka sunk three in the win.
Washington actually shot the ball decently well from three Saturday. The Wizards made 38 percent of their attempts. Toronto, overall, did a solid job defending the Wizards, especially containing John Wall. Wall finished with 23 points and 15 assists, but he missed 14 shots Saturday and turned the ball over five times. Toronto’s defense faces a very bland offense at times. The Wizards don’t run too many creative sets to free open shooters. Beal should have big games coming up, and he was relatively quiet Saturday, but overall there aren’t many Wizards capable of big shooting games.
- Wizards are 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Wizards are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Conference Quarterfinals games.
- Wizards are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Wizards are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Atlantic.
- Raptors are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 home games.
- Raptors are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Conference Quarterfinals games.
- Raptors are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Raptors are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
Washington will be a desperate team, but Toronto won’t lay over, either. The Raptors have so much talent, and they want to prove that the regular season wasn’t this fluke. Toronto’s bench outplays the Wizards in a big way. Beal could very well have a big game, but Toronto has too much firepower in the end. Kyle Lowry was terrific against Wall defensively, too.