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Toronto Raptors

Game Notes – What Curse? Raptors take Game 1 at Home Over Wizards

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Well, it finally happened, the Raptors beat the Washington Wizards on Saturday night to ease the fanbase’s nerves and win the first game of a series.

They came away with a 114-106 win, winning every quarter other than the second. Despite the close finish, there was never a point in the game where it didn’t feel like the Raptors were in control.

Playoff Mobbin’

Six players scored in double figures for the Raptors, whose depth made a huge impact in securing the victory. CJ Miles his four huge threes for 12 points and forced three Wizard timeouts in the process and Delon Wright made up for the absence of Fred VanVleet, going off for 18 points, four assists and three steals. Delon shot 7-10 from the field, played great defense against the Wizards backcourt and provided the spark that Fred usually gives to the bench.

The Wizards bench was awful as expected. Kelly Oubre Jr’s only noticeable moment was when he threw the ball off Serge’s Ma Fuzzy, Tomas Satoransky didn’t make a shot, Ian Mahinmi got 2 fouls as soon as he checked in and didn’t return and Tim Frazier only saw four minutes on the court.

Mike Scott was the only player from the Wizards bench who actually hurt the Raptors. He scored 14 points in 27 minutes on 7-10 shooting from the field. As annoying as it was to see him posting up and knocking down mid-range shots, the Raptors should be happy that the Wizards needed Scott’s offense to keep the game close.

Turning Point

As well as Scott played for the Wizards, his flagrant foul on Kyle Lowry in the fourth quarter changed the game. The Wizards were up by three at the time and after the free throws and ensuing possession, the Raptors were up by one.

After the flagrant, Lucas Nogueira checked in as well and might have had the best one point, one rebound and one assist game in NBA playoff history. His length made a huge difference in deterring the Wizards at the rim and keeping their big’s mid-range game in check. There’s no way the Wizards had anything for Bebe in their game plan and he made a huge impact down the stretch.

Star Comparison

Anyone who says Kyle and DeMar “choked” again didn’t watch this game. The shooting numbers might not be perfect but the two made a difference in other facets of the game. They combined for 15 assists and made the Wizards pay for doubling them when they had the ball. DeMar also knocked down two 3’s and shoot the deep ball confidently all game. If he can make the Wizards respect his outside shot it’ll just make everything easier for him throughout the series.

Kyle absolutely dominated the second-half in the most Kyle way ever. He set up his teammates, thoroughly dogged Bradley Beal and John Wall on the defensive end and had some clutch baskets down the stretch.

The Wizards backcourt may have outscored DeMar and Kyle, but they did not out play them. Wall and Beal disappeared in the fourth, which might have had something to do with playing 40 minutes and having the ball in their hands the whole game. The Raptors did a great job containing Beal as he only scored 19 points and never felt like he was really a part of the game. Wall controlled the ball for most of the night and that resulted in 23 points and 15 assists. Somehow Wall made the Raptors pay for leaving on the three-point line, knocking down three 3’s but couldn’t finish a layup and ended the night shooting 6-20. The Raptors defense did a great job of giving Wall the jump shots he doesn’t want to take and them having someone at the rim to contest his layups.

Supporting Cast

Serge Ibaka might have played his best game as a Raptor. 23 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks on 8-11 shooting and 3-4 from deep. Serge was the perfect outlet for Kyle and DeMar out of double teams as he knocked down shots, kept the ball moving and hurt the Wizards as they tried to recover. Serge has said all year that he’s going to show up for the playoffs and if we get him at this level for the rest of the postseason? The team is going to be even more dangerous.

OG Anunoby showed that he had zero nerves about playing his first career playoff game. He knocked down two 3’s early, forcing the Wizards to respect him and he played a big role in keeping the Wizards backcourt from exploding. He started the game guarding Beal and did a pretty good job chasing him around screens and making sure he didn’t get any open looks from the outside. But once the Raptors switched him onto Wall, his length and defensive IQ made life even tougher for Wall who had to fight to get past OG and then deal with the help side defender at the rim and a recovering OG.

Looking Ahead

The playoffs are all about making adjustments in and between games, and we will most likely see some new wrinkles from the Wizards on Tuesday that the Raptors are going to have to deal with if they want to go up 2-0.

In terms of any adjustments the Raptors can make, I’m sure it’ll be on the defensive end. Fred should be back which gives them another body to throw at Wall and Beal and if they can figure out some ways to get the ball into other players hands, they can keep the Wizards backcourt from gaining any momentum in the series.

Game two goes Tuesday night, 7:00 PM at the Air Canada Centre.

Zach is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Communications at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. He Is the game day writer for both basketball teams at school, as well as a writer and photographer for the Calgary Journal. Journalism has allowed Zach to pursue his passion for sports in a different way. Zach has been an avid sports fan his entire life, actively following baseball and football in addition to basketball. When he's not writing, Zach coaches a boy’s basketball team in the Calgary area to pass on his passion for the game.

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