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Date: Friday, April 24th 2015 at 8:00pm ET
The Toronto Raptors (0-2) have been a complete letdown in the 2015 NBA playoffs.
The Washington Wizards (2-0) dominated the Raptors throughout most of the first two games at the ACC and now Toronto will be forced to dig deep to make a series out of this first round match-up.
I believe game 2 was a turning point in the series. The Raptors looked lifeless most of the game and I have a hard time picturing the Raptors getting back into this series after dropping two at home.
The Wizards are 2-0 ATS – with wins of 93-86 in OT (G1) and 117-106 (G2).
In game 1 it was the story of the veterans for the Wizards, but in game 2 John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 54 points on 20 of 37 shooting from the field (4 of 9 on 3-point shots).
Kyle Lowry was banged up prior to the playoffs, but he has been a big disappointment so far. He has gone 5 of 20 from the field and been very ineffective throughout the first two games.
Amir Johnson needs to be inserted into the starting line-up and Patrick Patterson needs to get more playing time at PF. The Wizards often play small ball anyways, so Hansbrough shouldn’t be playing.
The bench was exceptional for Toronto in game 2 again and DeMar DeRozan played great (20 points on 9 of 18 shooting from the field) after a poor outing in game 1, but that hasn’t been enough.
Toronto’s bench outscored the starters for the second game in a row and if the starters were able to produce more the Raptors would have at least walked away with one win at the ACC.
Don’t forget – the Raptors swept the regular season series (3-0) against Washington.
This is as close to a do or die situation as you get for the Raptors. Maybe the players felt pressured to win at home due to the strong #WeTheNorth backing – we’ll find out on Friday night.
It’s fairly simple for the Raptors. Johnson needs to be inserted into the starting line-up; the starters need to produce like they have all season and the Raps have to be willing to tighten up on defense.
Toronto also have to win the rebounding battle. Washington averaged 44.7 RPG (8th) and Toronto averaged 41.5 RPG (26th) during the regular season, but so far the Wizards are dominating the paint.
The first game went under even with overtime, the second game went over and now I’ll be betting on the third game to stay under the total of 195.5 points – here’s why.
Dwayne Casey has to preach defense to his guys if they want to fight back into this series.
Toronto needs to slow the pace down in Washington, focus on being efficient and not allow Washington to score easy buckets. These two teams often play low scoring games against each other too.
Two of the three regular season games went under and seven of the last ten H2H games have stayed under the total. I like the under better than the Raptors to cover the point spread in this game.
Washington had a top ten defense (97.8 PPG – 10th) during the regular season and they were tough to play against at home. This has the makings of a grind it out affair that’ll be very close.