Toronto Raptors (59-23 SU, 43-38-1 ATS, 41-40-1 O/U) at Washington Wizards (43-39 SU, 37-44-1 ATS, 36-44-2 O/U)
When and Where: Friday, April 27, Capital One Arena, Washington D.C., 7 p.m. EDT.
After re-discovering their aggressiveness in a Game 5 win at home, the top-seeded Toronto Raptors look to play the same way Friday night with a chance to close out the Washington Wizards in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
Wright provides fourth-quarter spark for Raptors
The Raptors (59-23) played surprisingly passive in their two defeats in Washington after jumping out to a 2-0 series lead and took a series-low 18 3-pointers in Sunday’s 106-98 that evened the best-of-seven.
But back at the Air Canada Centre, where they had won 36 of their 43 games this season including the playoffs, Toronto found its offensive mojo once more and pushed Washington to the brink of elimination with a 108-98 victory Wednesday night.
DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points and Kyle Lowry added 17 and 10 assists, but it was reserve guard Delon Wright who delivered in the clutch moments, scoring the final seven Raptors points in a 19-6 fourth-quarter run that gave Toronto control.
Wright finished with a playoff career-high 18 points, five rebounds and two steals while hitting both of his 3-point attempts. The Raptors finished 11 of 25 from beyond the arc while limiting the Wizards to 5 of 26 (19.2 percent) from deep.
After averaging 117.3 points while shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range and 50.4 percent overall, the Raptors will try to replicate that offensive form in Washington, where they averaged 100.5 points and shot 44.1 percent. Toronto also has committed just 41 turnovers in its three home wins compared to 37 in its defeats in Games 3 and 4.
Wizards look to extend playoff run at home to nine and force Game 7
If there is a saving grace for eighth-seeded Washington (43-39), it has been its recent dominance at home in the postseason. The Wizards have won a franchise record-tying eight straight at home over the past two seasons, equaling the mark set by the 1978 team that won the only NBA title in franchise history.
The Wizards, though, must put aside the disappointment of letting Game 5 slip through their hands despite an off-shooting night from the perimeter as John Wall failed to score in the final 9:42, and Bradley Beal‘s lone basket in the final 17:12 of game time was a meaningless 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
Wall finished with 26 points, nine assists and nine rebounds, and Beal added 20 points, but they got little help. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 14 points but was 3 of 11 from the field, including 1 of 7 from 3-point range.
The Wizards were held to series lows in overall shooting percentage (41.1) and 3-point shooting percentage (19.2), and their 18 turnovers in Game 5 were a series worst.
The Raptors are:
- 6-2 ATS in their last eight first-round playoff games.
The Wizards are:
- 8-17-1 ATS in their last 26 Friday games.
Washington won both times last year when it hosted Game 6, eventually defeating Atlanta in the first round and losing to Boston in the conference semifinals.
Toronto has closed out only one of its four playoff series victories in franchise history on the road, ousting the Bucks in Milwaukee in Game 6 in last year’s first round.
If the Wizards win, Game 7 will be at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sunday.