Toronto Raptors End Game 1 Curse, Hand Wizards Game 1 Loss
The Toronto Raptors have exorcized their Game 1 demons.
The Raptors got their 2018 playoff run off to a successful start Saturday evening, defeating the Washington Wizards 114-106.
Incredibly, the Raptors were 1-12 in Game 1’s coming into the game, despite often having home court advantage. They had not won the first game of a playoff series since 2001.
“It’s out of the way now,” Demar Derozan said of the team’s supposed curse. “Worry about Game 2.”
Toronto struggled for much of the game, and was down 91-88 early in the 4th. However, they outscored the Wizards 28-21 in the final frame, led by Delon Wright, who scored 11 of his 18 points in the 4th.
Despite the inconsistent shooting of stars Derozan and Kyle Lowry, (a recurring theme throughout their playoff careers) the Raptors received key contributions from elsewhere. In addition to the aforementioned Wright, Serge Ibaka scored 23 points on 11 shots, with 11 rebounds. Meanwhile, the little-used Lucas Noguiera stepped up in the 4th, providing excellent rim protection.
John Wall scored 23 points for Washington, adding 15 assists and 4 steals, as he continues his return from injury. Markieff Morris and Bradley Beal added 22 and 19, respectively.
As for Toronto’s usual suspects, Lowry scored 11, while Derozan added 17 on 6-17 shooting. Although both provided excellent passing, with 9 and 6 assists respectively, the scoring will obviously have to come if the Raptors are going to make a real run this year.
One thing that definitely has changed from previous years is the Raptors’ new emphasis on the 3-pointer. Toronto hit 16 of its 30 3-point attempts, a team postseason record. If the Raptors are to eventually keep pace with Cleveland’s offensive machine, this is a trend that will have to continue.
“We’re not satisfied,” said head coach Dwane Casey. “We’re in this for the long run.”