Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Wizards 106, Raptors 114; Raptors lead series 1-0

Washington 106 Final
Box Score
114 Toronto

S. Ibaka33 MIN, 23 PTS, 11 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 8-11 FG, 3-4 3FG, 4-4 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, 0 +/-

He single-handedly stopped a 3-on-1 fastbreak. He hit shots, and blocked others. This was the Serge the Raptors wanted when the made the trade last year. For the first half he was the best Raptor on the court, and maintained a steady level of play all night. If the Raptors get this Serge every night they’ll got a huge weapon on their hands.

O. Anunoby22 MIN, 12 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 5-9 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 11 +/-

OG’s value this series will be measure in two ways: hitting open shots and slowing down the likes of Beal, Wall, and Porter. He forced a missed lay-up on Beal’s first shot by getting physically into him, and followed it up by draining three from the wing the next time he touched the ball.

His activity was so important. Along with contributing in the expected/hoped for ways, he was also aggressive on the glass. In the first quarter alone OG grabbed two tough offensive rebounds.

OG is the personification of our dreams, and our reward for years of pain. This game was not too big a stage for the rook. He is not afraid.

J. Valanciunas23 MIN, 9 PTS, 9 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 4-6 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 1 +/-

Valanciunas struggling with Gortat over the years has made so little sense. Tonight he came for Marcin’s head. Scoring the team’s first 6 points. He helped force both Gortat and Mahinmi into two quick fouls, and was a big on the glass.

K. Lowry38 MIN, 11 PTS, 3 REB, 9 AST, 3 STL, 4-9 FG, 1-4 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 5 TO, 8 +/-

Midway through the second quarter the Wizards went on a quick 13-0 run to take the lead, it was largely on the back of buckets created by Beal and Wall, by getting passed Lowry and making a smart pass to exploit the Raptors’ rotations.

Much like DeMar, it was a tale of two halfs for Lowry. He went from passive to full attack mode after halftime. Pull-up threes in transition, tough buckets in the paint, and getting extremely physical with his man on defence. Solid second half, great fourth quarter.

And yes, Kyle once again took a charge.

D. DeRozan35 MIN, 17 PTS, 2 REB, 6 AST, 0 STL, 6-17 FG, 2-5 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 6 +/-

Responded reasonably to the double-teams sent his way, but spent the first half clearly trying to focus more on dishing rather than scoring. It’s good to see him get teammates involved, but the Raptors need him to also be assertive with his scoring.

The second half saw him and Lowry open things up. DeMar looked pissed off and hit some big buckets, including a few triples that he created off the dribble. He looked like a man after the break who was desperate to end the game 1 streak.

D. Wright25 MIN, 18 PTS, 2 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 7-10 FG, 3-4 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 5 TO, -2 +/-

Left his feet with the ball in his hands a few times early in the game, but was an unquestionable plus on the night. He can be such a special defender, and showed the full package today. Running back to breakup transition opportunities. Forcing turnovers on inbounds after buckets. Hawking passing lanes. He did it all tonight.

It’s also incredible to see how far Delon’s shot has come. Give him time and he’ll hit a high amount of them. That reasonable three point shot on a low value opens up so much for a player who is so dangerous off the dribble.

The Raptors needed Delon at his best without VanVleet as an option, and he gave just that.

C. Miles19 MIN, 12 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 4-8 FG, 4-7 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-

Missed his first two, but that didn’t deter him. Hit a tough contested triple from above the break early in the second quarter (over an outstretched double team), and then hit a deep one – in transition as Delon waited for him to find the spot – from at least 5 feet beyond the line.

When CJ starts hitting his shots it transforms the Bench Mob into something special. Seeing their Bench Dad happy and thriving gives the Mob a swagger.

P. Siakam16 MIN, 9 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-5 FG, 1-2 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 8 +/-

Siakam didn’t jump out in my eyes, as he didn’t seem to have the same bouncy energy for much of the night. But look at the stats he put up, including being +8 in just 15 minutes of action.

Two encouraging moments jump out from Siakam tonight. First, a made corner three. Second, going 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

J. Poeltl15 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 1-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 2 TO, -2 +/-

Blocked a lay-up from behind on his first defensive possession, but struggled with the bulk of Gortat on the glass. His active feet work great against quicker opponents, but players with bulk really challenge him. Casey eventually went away from him in favour of Bebe.

L. Nogueira9 MIN, 1 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 8 +/-

Poeltl was having trouble with both Gortat and Markieff, so Casey called upon Bebe in the fourth quarter. Markieff came right at him on his first possession, bumping him on the drive. Bebe stuck with him, took the bump, and used his length to force a miss. And I think we forget how good a passer Bebe is, but he showed it tonight.

Having Bebe that deep on the bench is such a luxury.

N. Powell5 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-

Got an opportunity likely thanks to Fred’s injury, but sadly did not make the most of it. It feels like Norm currently plays about 80 percent of a possession correctly, but the other 20 percent is bit lost. For example, in the second quarter he had a tough drive down the left of the lane, only to throw the ball off the top half of the backboard.

Dwane Casey

Casey’s rotation decisions went a long way to ending the Game 1 curse. Norm struggled, got stapled to the bench. He rode Delon and his stars as needed, and got his team to lock in on defence in the second half.

The most impactful decision he made though was calling on Bebe when it was clear Poeltl was struggling with the size/physicality of Gortat and Markieff. This decision helped turn the game in the fourth quarter, and Casey deserves credit for trusting his depth.

Things We Saw

  1. Something strange always seems to happen in Toronto during a playoff game. Remember when the shot clock stopped working at the in-arena announcer needed to shout out the final seconds each time?Tonight Toronto did something new. They had a rain delay. Inside.
  2. The same rain that delayed the start of the game due to a leak, also caused the cancellation of Jurassic Park. Weird to watch a playoff game and not have cuts to a raucous outdoor crowd.
  3. The Bench Mob can play, and the playoffs isn’t too much for them. They will have moments of struggle, but they are an unquestionable plus.
  4. Drake showed up. And he was wearing a Humboldt Broncos’ jersey.He appeared to enjoy yelling at Kelly Oubre Jr. Which, if we’re being honest, who wouldn’t?
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