The Toronto Raptors will host the visiting Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference first-round playoffs at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday.
The Raptors (1-0) should have their confidence at the top. Not only did they finished the regular season with the best record in the Eastern Conference (59-23) and as one of the best home teams in the entire Association (34-7), but they are also coming off a huge win in the series opener that meant the franchise's first-ever win in the opening game of a Round 1 series. Even though the Raptors might not have Fred VanVleet for Game 2, as he is questionable due to a shoulder injury, their bench is coming off a great performance with players such as Delon Wright, who scored 18 points (11 in the fourth quarter), and C.J. Miles, who had 12. In fact, Toronto’s bench outscored Washington’s 42-21. They need to keep themselves on that track if they want to head to Washington with a two-game lead in the series.
The Wizards (0-1) had a decent performance all things considered, but their bench failed to perform when it mattered the most. So, now they are obliged to win here if they want to steal the home-court advantage from the Raptors. Washington will need to tighten things up defensively in this game, but they also need to stop relying on their starters too much since the bench needs to produce sooner than later. One of the positive aspects from the first game of the series was the fact that John Wall (23 points and 15 assists) looked absolutely recovered from the injury that kept him sidelined for most of the second part of the season. A healthy Wall certainly improves their chances of pulling the upset, but they will need to be better on both ends of the court to steal a win and make it a 1-1 series heading into Game 3 later this week.
Posted on April 17, 2018 at 1:14 AM ET
Updated on April 17, 2018 at 1:18 AM ET