Toronto’s coach Dwane Casey had the best word for the way the Wizards played, “they punched us”. Nothing over the course of two games across the border instilled much confidence among Washington’s fan base that a turnaround was ahead. The Wizards are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games and I had this series going to seven games, so I’m taking the Wizards to square the series in a close one.
The Raptors won the series opener 114-106, then took Game 2, 130-119, but expected a fierce fight from a Wizards team that was down 2-0 to Boston in last season’s playoffs before clawing back to tie the series. And those turnovers (19 to be exact) led to 28 Wizards points.
“We’re not going out to try to box every game”, Beal said, before describing Morris as “a bully with a smile”. You get rewarded by playing into the schemes and staying with the game plan. Coach Brooks told Wall that Beal (and Otto Porter) needed more shots, and then Brooks assumed responsibility for Beal not getting enough shot attempts in Game 2 (he had just 11).
Later in the first half, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry was given a flagrant foul after appearing to hit Bradley Beal on the head while going for a block. Jonas Valanciunas added an impressive 19 points and 14 boards in just 23 minutes of action, while CJ Miles chipped in with 18 points off the bench. The Raptors could have used more from Serge Ibaka, who picked up a technical for a scuffle and had as many turnovers (three) as points in the loss. Maybe they could come back, after all its not called home court advantage for no reason. Take the Toronto Raptors at +2. He shot 52.6 percent from the field and drained four 3-pointers. He brought the edge of a guy playing for his National Basketball Association career, knowing a good playoff series could earn him a contract next season.
WASHINGTON-Midway through the third quarter of Friday night’s do-or-die playoff game, a familiar but previously unheeded chant filled Capital One Arena. Using aggressiveness to get the Wizards into foul trouble to limit the minutes of dynamic guards John Wall and Bradley Beal may be the best strategy for Toronto to take the commanding series lead. Gortat responded with his best showing of these playoffs, contributing 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting. At the time, the Wizards led by just two points, 38-36. Beal remarked how much easier the game is for everyone when Wall plays. Neither margin was overwhelming but the Wizards looked out of sorts and thoroughly unprepared to mount any sort of resistance against Toronto’s deep roster. And now, the test will be if they can win a series in under 6 games. While Toronto found success in the opening two games sharing the scoring load among a broad base of players, on Friday defensive adjustments by the Wizards often pushed the Raptors into a one-on-one offence dominated by all-stars DeMar DeRozan and Lowry.
Beal scored 12 in the quarter a day after he, Wall and Brooks met to discuss ways to get the All-Star shooting guard more involved in the offense.
The Washington Wizards scored 122.2 points per-100 possessions in their Game 3 victory over the Toronto Raptors, picking them apart in transition and the pick-and-roll.
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There is no one out for the game on Friday’s for either the Wizards or the Raptors, but Fred VanVleet played very few minutes after missing game one with a bruised right shoulder. Yes, some Toronto players defended him well, but Beal also missed a lot of shots he would normally knock down.