Raptors Jump Out to Early Lead, Roll to 130-119 Win Over Wizards
Toronto continued to impress Tuesday, defeating Washington 130-119, to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series. It is the first time in the franchise’s history that it has gone up 2-0.
The Raptors dominated early, stretching Washington’s deficit to 22 points in the first quarter. With 7 threes in the first quarter alone, Toronto rode scorching shooting to a 76-58 halftime lead. The 76 points in one half is a Raptors playoff record, smashing the 63 they scored against Miami in 2016.
“Well, I liked the way the starters responded. Our second unit has gotta come in with a sense of urgency and some toughness that they’ve shown all year,” said coach Dwane Casey. “They had some good moments but not enough. Not enough. Not enough.
“I liked the way the starters came in. I liked the way Serge battled down the stretch. Kyle and DeMar did an excellent job. But we’ve gotta get some more guys to join the party.”
Toronto’s shooting went cold in the 3rd, as they missed all 7 of their 3-point attempts in the quarter. Their struggles continued into the 4th, with the Wizards narrowing the lead down to 5. However, after a deep C.J. Miles three-pointer, a Delon Wright block, and a Demar Derozan turnaround jumper, the gap was back to double digits. Washington never again seriously threatened, as the Raptors cruised to victory.
Derozan rebounded from his poor shooting in Game 1 in a huge way, pacing the Raptors with a career playoff-high 37 points on 14-23 shooting.
“I just let the game come to me, flow of the game. I go based off that,” DeRozan said following the win. “These days, it’s not like I have to have the mindset of scoring 30 or 40 points. I go out there and play aggressive.”
Jonas Valanciunas finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds in only 23 minutes, and was especially effective during the Raptors’ dominant first quarter, teaming with Serge Ibaka, Derozan and Kyle Lowry to provide the Raptors with a tremendous cushion.
One cannot talk about this game without mentioning the play of John Wall. Washington’s point guard was superb, leading Washington with 29 points and 9 assists, including 22 in the second half, as he kept the Wizards afloat. Unfortunately for Washington, Wall did not receive much help, with usual sidekick Bradley Beal rendered ineffective. Beal finished with 9 points on 11 shots, and was a minus-34 on the night.
Also of note was the return of Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, after sitting out Game 1 with a bruised right shoulder. However, VanVleet looked tentative, air balling a shot and turning the ball over in 3 minutes of action.
Toronto has to be encouraged with how their playoff run has gone so far, their usual struggles relatively absent. Next, they go to Washington for Game 3 on Friday.