Wizards at Raptors Preview
The Toronto Raptors won the first two games of their first-round, Eastern Conference series over the Washington Wizards but could not find a way to win on the road. The Raptors leaned into some bad habits in a Game 4 loss and will try to correct some mistakes when they host Game 5 on Wednesday.
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Toronto won a franchise-record 59 games during the regular season and earned the top seed in the East for the first time while playing a band of basketball that encouraged ball movement and 3-point shooting, but some of those traits were hard to find down the stretch in Game 4’s 106-98 setback. “At some point we’ve got to make sure we keep our composure and execute,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters. “We missed some shots we normally make. … We turned down some good looks I thought we’d normally step into.” The Wizards allowed an average of 122 points in the first two games of the series but cut that number down to 100.5 in the next two. “You have to have resolve to win in this league,” Washington coach Scott Brooks told reporters. “We’ve had some tough moments this year with (point guard) John (Wall) missing half the season, but we found it, and it put us in a position to make the playoffs through resolve. You win playoff games, and you win playoff series with having that. We have that, and we have to continue to have that because we have to win two more games, and one of them has to be on the road.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBATV, NBCS Washington, TSN 1/4/5 (Toronto)
ABOUT THE WIZARDS: All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal fouled out of Game 4 with just under five minutes left, but Wall took over down the stretch and finished with 27 points and 14 assists in the win. “Just go in attack mode,” Wall told reporters. “Even when Brad’s in the game, he’s telling me, ‘Be aggressive.’ At the same time, I’m trying to find him. I’m trying to keep him going and play my game. That gets my teammates involved and makes the job easier for those guys. They are knocking down shots and cutting for me, and I’m going to get my opportunities to score the ball.” Wall is averaging 26.3 points, 13 assists and three steals in the series.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS: DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 35 points in Game 4 but was just 10-of-29 from the floor. “I took some shots that I wish I could have had back,” DeRozan told reporters. “But it’s just my mindset going out there and being aggressive, wanting to win, wanting to feel like I was doing whatever it took offensively to push us to a win. But with that came some bad shots that I will definitely understand next time.” DeRozan and Kyle Lowry (7-of-15) combined for more than half of Toronto’s shot attempts in the loss.
1. Raptors PG Fred VanVleet (shoulder) was limited to a total of three minutes in the first four games but participated in practice on Tuesday.
2. Beal averaged 29.5 points in the two home games after averaging 14 at Toronto in the first two contests.
3. Washington PF Mike Scott scored four points on Sunday after averaging 15.3 points in the first three contests.