Now we find out what the Toronto Raptors are really made of, if the "culture reset" will do what it was supposed to do.
The Raptors remade their offense, improved their defense, and developed the best bench in basketball. But if the result of all that is just the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, it's not enough. So it's time for the Raptors to prove that their transformation can carry over into the postseason. And oh boy, if things don't go right in Game 1.
The Washington Wizards are a dangerous 8 seed, but have their own issues: bad chemistry, a bad bench, and John Wall still getting back into basketball shape after missing two months of action.
The Wiz are counting on this being a new season. The Raptors hope it's not too different than the last six months.
Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for the 1-8 series in the East, with links to let you dive in and explore more. Game 1 is Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Toronto Raptors (59-23)
Pace: 99.8 (13)
OffRtg: 111.0 (3)
DefRtg: 103.4 (5)
NetRtg: +7.6 (3)
Raptors team notes:
- Only team that ranked in the top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
- Saw the league's biggest increase in assist percentage, assisting on 59 percent of their baskets (11th highest rate in the league), up from 47 percent (30th) last season. But they assisted on just 39 percent of their baskets (28th) with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.
- Saw the league's second biggest increase in the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range, from 29 percent (22nd highest rate) last season to 38 percent (fifth highest) this season.
- One of two teams that outscored their opponents by more than 10 points per 100 possessions in the fourth quarter.
- Had the league's best aggregate bench NetRtg (plus-8.3 points per 100 possessions). Their five-man bench unit - Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, C.J. Miles, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl - outscored opponents by 17.1 points per 100 possessions, the fifth best mark among all lineups that played at least 200 minutes together.
- Had only four losses, fewest in the league, that weren't within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter. Their last loss that wasn't within five in the last five was on Dec. 27.
- Allowed the fewest points per possession (1.03) in transition.
Raptors individual notes:
- OG Anunoby had an effective field goal percentage of 57.7 percent, the third highest mark among rookies who attempted at least 300 shots.
- DeMar DeRozan ranked second (behind LaMarcus Aldridge) with 694 points scored between the restricted area and 3-point range. He took 20 percent of his shots from 3-point range, more than double his rate of last season. He made 25 more 3-pointers than he had in any of his previous eight seasons, though he shot just 25 percent on pull-up threes, the second worst mark among 56 players who attempted at least 100.
- Serge Ibaka shot just under 50 percent from mid-range, the best mark among players with at least 200 mid-range attempts.
- Ibaka and C.J. Miles both ranked in the bottom 12 in assist ratio among players who averaged at least 15 minutes in 40 or more games, having recorded assists on just 6.3 and 7.5 percent of their possessions, respectively.
- Kyle Lowry was assisted on 49 percent of his field goals, the highest rate of his career.
- Miles attempted 12.2 3-pointers per 36 minutes and accounted for 47 percent of the Raptors' 3-pointers while he was on the floor. Both of those marks were the highest rate among players who played at least 1,000 total minutes this season.
- Jakob Poeltl had an effective field goal percentage of 68.8 percent in the fourth quarter, the best mark among players with at least 100 fourth-quarter field goal attempts. He also led the league with 100 blocks off the bench.
- Pascal Siakam shot 22 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, the worst mark among 203 players who attempted at least 100. He shot 27 percent on corner 3-pointers, the fourth worst mark among 125 players who have attempted at least 50. Norman Powell (29 percent) and DeRozan (29 percent) also ranked in the bottom 10 in corner 3-point percentage.
- The Raptors outscored their opponents by 12.1 points per 100 possessions with Fred VanVleet on the floor. That was the fourth highest on-court NetRtg among players who averaged at least 15 minutes in 40 or more games. VanVleet ranked second in total plus-minus (plus-352) off the bench.
- VanVleet had an effective field goal percentage of 61 percent in the first half of games and 47 percent in the second half. That was the biggest effective field goal percentage drop from half to half among 210 players with at least 200 field goal attempts in each half.
Washington Wizards (43-39)
Pace: 98.9 (18)
OffRtg: 106.9 (14)
DefRtg: 106.2 (15)
NetRtg: +0.7 (16)
Wizards team notes:
- Had 15 losses to the 12 teams that finished with losing records. That was the most among the 18 teams that finished with winning records.
- Took just 28 percent of their shots in the restricted area. That was the second lowest rate in the league and down from 33 percent last season. Now team saw a bigger drop-off.
- Ranked fourth in 3-point percentage, but 24th in the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range.
- Ranked 27th in clutch offense (98.6 points scored per 100 possessions) and went 2-9 in games that were within five points in the last five minutes in March and April.
Wizards individual notes:
- Bradley Beal and John Wall had effective field goal percentages of 34 percent and 38 percent, respectively, in the clutch. Those were the third and fifth worst marks among players who attempted at least 50 shots with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.
- The Wizards outscored their opponents by 4.9 points per 100 possessions in 911 minutes when Kelly Oubre Jr. was on the floor with Otto Porter Jr., but were outscored by 6.7 points per 100 possessions in 577 minutes when Oubre was on the floor with Markieff Morris.
- Porter ranked third in 3-point percentage at 44.1 percent.
- Tomas Satoransky recorded assists on 36 percent of his possessions, the fourth highest rate among players who averaged at least 15 minutes in 40 or more games.
- Mike Scott shot 56 percent from mid-range, the second best mark among 146 players who attempted at least 100 mid-range shots. John Wall (28 percent) had the second worst mark.
- Wall had an effective field goal percentage of 34.0 percent on pull-up jumpers, the second worst mark among 37 players who attempted at least five per game.
- Wall was one of six players who assisted on more than 40 percent of their team's baskets while they were on the floor.
- Wall averaged just 3.5 fast break points per 36 minutes, the fewest of his career and down from 5.9 last season.
Regular season matchup
Season series: Tied 2-2 (1-1 in Toronto)
Nov. 5 @ Toronto - Wizards 107, Raptors 96
Nov. 19 @ Toronto - Raptors 100, Wizards 91
Feb. 1 @ Washington - Wizards 122, Raptors 119
Mar. 2 @ Washington - Raptors 102, Wizards 95
- John Wall did not play in any of the four meetings.
- The most common individual matchup on both ends of the floor was DeRozan vs. Porter.
- Beal scored 29 points on 66 possessions where OG Anunoby was his primary defender, but just 18 points on 82 possessions where Norman Powell was his primary defender.
- The Wizards averaged 17.0 second chance points, most for any East team against Toronto. Ian Mahinmi grabbed 12 offensive rebounds in just 56 minutes against the Raptors.
- The Raptors shot 76 percent in the restricted area, the best mark for any team against the Wizards this season.
- Jonas Valanciunas' effective field goal percentage of 74 percent (he shot 17-for-25 with three 3-pointers) was the second highest mark among players who attempted at least 25 shots against the Wizards this season.
- The 28.8 points that Beal averaged were his highest scoring average against any East opponent and the second highest average for any East player against the Raptors. His 16 field goals on Nov. 5 were the most for any player in a game vs. the Raptors this season.
- The Raptors outscored the Wizards by 41 points in 166 minutes with VanVleet (who missed the Feb. 1 meeting) on the floor, and were outscored by 39 points in 120 minutes with VanVleet off the floor. He was a plus-20 in their seven-point win on March 2.
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