Wizards spellbound by rampant Raptors, Celtics pip Bucks


The Washington Wizards face a tough task, forced to rebound from a 0-2 deficit against the top-seeded Toronto Raptors after falling short in a 130-119 slugfest.

DeRozan converted 14 of his 23 shots, as the Raptors set a franchise record for their highest points tally in a play-off game. The 28-year old shooting guard wasn't sharp in game one as he only scored 17 points on 35% shooting. DeRozan had been in a scoring drought recently, scoring 17 points in Game 1, with 19 and 16 points in his final two regular season games.

Kyle Lowry had 13 points and a career playoff-high 12 assists as Toronto set team playoff records for points in a quarter, a half, and a game. Beal averaged 22.6 points and career highs of 4.5 assists and 4.4 rebounds this season.

Getting past a once-in-a-generation superstar in the postseason remains a hard challenge, but if the Raptors want to emerge as a legitimate championship contender, they will need their depth and chemistry to play a large role. Their depth has been hard to match all season and that has continued in this series.

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Toronto's early success at the Air Canada Centre isn't surprising given it was 34-7 at home. Delon Wright added 11 points, while Serge Ibaka chipped in with 10 for the Raptors, who had 13 three-pointers on the night. Toronto is holding opponents to 103.9 points, ranking them seventh in the National Basketball Association.

Action now shifts to Washington, with the third game in the best-of-seven series scheduled for Friday night. Washington coach Scott Brooks called two timeouts to try and slow Toronto, to little effect, while Wizards guards Wall and Beal each picked up two early fouls, forcing them to the bench. He found Mike Scott open by the 3-point line, he found Mahinmi and Oubre cutting to the basket, and he was one of the main reasons why the Wizards were able shrink Toronto's 22-point lead to 14 before Wall and Beal re-entered the game. In the eyes of some prognosticators, 2017-18 was supposed to be the year for that artificial barrier to come down, especially after an encouraging, 49-win performance that featured a playoff series victory last year.

The Wizards have not had an answer for the Raptors offensive attack in the first two games, and they were also out-rebounded in both meetings.

The Raptors had all the wizardry in Game 2. Wright added 11 points, three steals, and two blocks, including one on John Wall during that late run. They ended with 1-5, leading to 21 points from the Celtics. Pierce's words proved prophetic, as the Raptors were swept in four games, losing by a combined 56 points after a 125-94 Game 4 demolition.

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The Raptors are now -3165 on the Sports Interaction series line with the Wizards +800.

Wall scored 14 points in the third while Toronto shot 0 for 7 from 3-point range, allowing the Wizards to cut it to 100-90 heading to the fourth. "They're going to be playing in a desperate mode, we've got to continue to be hungry, we've got to continue to go in with a fighter's mentality to start the game as we did at home". In addition, John Wall and Bradley Beal have both yet to play well in the same game in the first two games, and Otto Porter Jr.is only averaging 10.5 points in this series.

The Wizards really never stood much of a chance in Game 2 as the Raptors blitzes them from the get-go. It's the Wizards' defense that let this team down big time.

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