The Raptors had never won a Game 1 in the opening round, but the 114-106 win against the Washington Wizards finally pushes them over the edge. In the latter win, Bradley Beal stepped up with a game-high 27 points to lead five starters who scored in double figures and eight on the team overall.
The speedy Wall averaged 19.4 points and 9.6 assists this season. I want to be good on defense, but my job right now on this team is to be the best defensive player that I can be. "As long as those guys are producing the way they are, why should we change our rotation?"
Washington star point guard John Wall, who missed half the season with a knee injury and had not faced the Raptors in any of their four regular season meetings, put up 21 points and 15 assists. "We got to make adjustments".
The Wizards take on the Raptors at 5:30 p.m. ET.
At the same time, two of Indiana's head-to-head wins came by a combined six points (the other was a 17-point blowout), so the series was close to even. Lowry even said that "Game 1 is our Game 7", which was probably supposed to be him shrugging off the bad results but came across like someone who was thinking entirely too hard about this.
The Raptors and Wizards split the season series 2-2, typical of a season where Washington played best against quality competition. Beal was hot for the Wizards as well.
The question now is whether Drake will be courtside for Game 1.
The betting markets certainly aren't sleeping on the Toronto Raptors extended stretch of playoff failures.
It's surely worth noting that both Lowry and DeRozan played far fewer regular season minutes than in either of the last two years, in large part due to the Raptors impressive depth.
Just inside the fourth, Washington's Mike Scott threw a vicious shoulder into Lowry as he drove to the hoop, and earned a flagrant foul. And when Toronto went into the fourth quarter with an 86-85 lead, it set up a thrilling final 12 minutes in front of a capacity Air Canada Centre crowd that included Drake, sitting courtside in a Humboldt Broncos hockey jersey. And the wiseguys have kept this pointspread in the -8 range, well familiar with the Raptors impressive statistical profile - the only team in the National Basketball Association ranked in the Top 5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. "They are a No. 1 seed for a reason, they have a lot of good players". Delon Wright was terrific in the fourth, scoring 11 of his 18 points in the quarter, including the three-pointer that gave Toronto it's largest lead of the game (12 points) with 3:31 remaining. Miles had four, while Ibaka and Wright hit three apiece. In fact, during the 2015 postseason, the talented duo outplayed their Toronto counterparts, setting the stage for a sweep that no one saw coming. We've done it all year, it's nothing new.
Jakob Poeltl's alley-oop midway through the second made it an eight-point Raptors lead, but a 13-0 Wizards run gave the visitors a five-point lead. This time, however, Brooks was not trying to teach a lesson, but rather send a message.