2018 Playoffs: Game 5 Preview - Raptors vs. Wizards
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
Washington Wizards (2-2) @ Toronto Raptors (2-2)
When: Wednesday, April 25, 7 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: TSN1/4/5
The Raptors dropped a 106-98 decision in Game 4 in Washington, allowing the Wizards to tie the first-round series 2-2. Toronto lost despite playing a solid first half, and leading by 11 at the break. After holding Washington to just 40 points in the first half, the Raptors allowed the Wizards to match that first-half total of 40 points in the third, to head into the fourth with the score tied. In the final quarter, Washington outscored Toronto 26-18 to pull away and take the victory. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors in the loss, scoring 35 points, while Kyle Lowry added 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. The Wizards were led by Bradley Beal who had 31 points , and John Wall who had 27 points and 14 assists.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: For the Raptors, Fred VanVleet (sore right shoulder) and OG Anunoby (ankle) are both day-to-day, via Dwane Casey. For the Wizards, Jodie Meeks is not with the team as he serves a league suspension.
Home time: The Raptors return to the Air Canada Centre court for Game 5 with the series tied 2-2. This marks the sixth time since 2014 that the Raptors are 2-2 in a playoff series and they are 4-0 since 2014 when playing Game 5 at home. Toronto is the only team in the NBA that has not lost three consecutive games at any point this season, going 5-0 following back-to-back losses during the regular season.
Full 48: Part of what made Sunday's Game 4 loss especially frustrating was that the Raptors had put together such a strong first half effort. After holding Washington to just 40 first-half points on 34 percent shooting, the Wizards exploded for 40 points in the third quarter, shooting 65 percent, including 5-for-6 from beyond the arc. Things continued to get away from Toronto in the fourth where Washington shot 53 percent to Toronto's 35 percent. In Game 5, the intensity on both ends of the floor is something Toronto wants to keep up for a 48-minute effort.
Take care: The Raptors have had trouble taking care of the ball in their last two games. Sunday's Game 4 loss saw the Wizards score 19 points off 18 Toronto miscues. In comparison, Toronto converted just 11 points off 13 Washington turnovers. During the regular season, the Raptors gave up just 15.0 points off turnovers per game. In their previous two losses, the Wizards averaged 23.5 points off Toronto's 18.5 turnovers, while the Raptors averaged just 14.0 points scored off Washington turnovers.
Backcourt work: After Bradley Beal was quiet in the first two games of this series, he came alive on Washington's home floor. Beal followed up a 29-point, 10-for-19 field goal performance in Game 3 with a 31-point 10-for-19 field goal performance in Game 4, before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. John Wall has been solid all series, especially so in Game 4 where he finished with 27 points, 14 assists, six rebounds and four steals.
Ready to go: Coming back to Toronto with the series split at two games apiece wasn't what the Raptors had envisioned. Still, they are confident about returning to their home court where they were an NBA-best 34-7 this season. "I think we are all upset we lost two games," Kyle Lowry said. "They protected their home floor, but we felt we had an opportunity to win both games. In Game 4 we really had an opportunity but we didn't execute. We didn't execute. I think going into this [Game 5], we're excited, we're ready to go."
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey echoed Lowry's sentiments about returning to their home floor. "That's one reason why you play as hard as you do for 82 games, to get homecourt advantage," Casey said. "We've got to do a good job of continuing to do that tomorrow night and I hope our home court crowd is as loud and vicious and boisterous as they were in Washington the other night."GET TICKETS