Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Sport | By Tony Jimenez

Retooled Raptors ready for playoff rematch with Wizards

Retooled Raptors ready for playoff rematch with Wizards

DeMar DeRozan is averaging 17 points and six assists while Kyle Lowry is averaging 11 points and nine assists. The four all-stars shared daps, hugs and hushed conversations. 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.

No surprise here that the betting public has been more than a little reluctant to put their $$ on the Raptors as big home chalk in Game 1 of this series.

Despite struggling down the stretch, recoring nine losses in 12 games, Washington did enjoy some success versus Toronto during the regular season, splitting the teams' four meetings both straight up and against the spread, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

"I'm always there sitting on the bench, drinking coconut water and watching the game", he said.

The biggest problem Washington have is that they are facing Toronto who seem to have developed an unflappable commitment to an identity and an improved style of play built around ball movement and trust. "Guys like me, Fred (VanVleet) and C.J., we have to make shots and be that extra outlet".

Two seasons later the Raptors would set a new franchise worst at 16-66, so the inaugural season stands as the second-lowest win total in team history.

Entering Saturday, the Raptors had a 1-12 record in the first games of playoff series, but the bench spark and consistent play from the team's core-Serge Ibaka (23 points) led four Toronto starters in double figures-pushed the Raptors past their playoff stigma. IF - and yes, that is an "if" - they play well in the postseason this year, there will be a fair bit of residual value backing this squad; a team that has the potential to be a significantly undervalued commodity moving forward.

"It's definitely a pick your poison, but we have to do it better".

"We knew they were going try to take out DeMar and Kyle, they had 15 assists between them, so we were prepared for that", Casey said.

Beal scored seven points in the second, five of them in a 10-2 Wizards run that gave Washington a 42-41 lead with 6:20 left in the half.

The Raptors have even more impressive stats in their favor: Toronto ranked third in scoring in the league this year, at just under 112 points per game, while only allowing 103.9 points per game.

Brooks tried to silence the run by calling a timeout, but by this time, the Raptors' second unit had wrested control of the game.

DeRozan shot 2-for-5 from 3-point range, but it was more important that he created open looks for his teammates.

National Basketball Association betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 110.2-93.6, Raptors.

Wright finished with 18 points, leading a crew of off-the-bench contributors who helped fuel Saturday's win. "VanVleet didn't play tonight but Wright came in and had a terrific game".

John Wall led Washington with 23 points and 15 assists, and Markieff Morris scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

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