Wizards Capable of Series & Game 1 Upset of Top-Seeded Raptors

wizards raptors

Troy Haliburton

Thursday, April 12, 2018 10:03 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 12, 2018 10:03 PM UTC

On Saturday, the Wizards and the Raptors are set to meet in the playoffs for the second time in the last three years after the Wizards most famously upset the Raptors in 2015 with a sweep.

Washington Wizards (37-44-1 ATS) at Toronto Raptors (43-38-1 ATS)Free NBA Pick: Wizards +7.5Best Line Offered: BetPhoenix

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It's a 5:30 p.m. ET tip Saturday in Game 1 of this first-round series. The Wizards and the Raptors are set to meet in the playoffs for the second time in the last three years after the Wizards upset the Raptors in 2015 with a sweep. That Toronto team is completely different than the current wave of Raptors and they played an almost completely different style of basketball. Toronto was once on the outside looking in of the pace-and-space movement, as they were one of the few teams who did not implement the three-point shot in their offensive strategy. Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan has became notorious for his propensity to take mid-range jump shots, but he along with the rest of the Raptors team are changing that narrative. DeRozan is shooting a career high 36% from three-point range this season and is taking 3.2 threes per game.

This style of play led the Raptors to having the best record in the history of their franchise with 59 wins. The Wizards, on the other hand, were once again one of the biggest underachievers in the NBA this season. After playing in a Game 7 that would have sent them to the conference finals last season, Washington came back this year and regressed to the point where they were only able to win 43 games. One of the reasons that Washington struggled so mightily has to be the fact that All-Star point guard John Wall missed 41 games.

Washington had been somewhat successful in Wall's absence, and a lot of that can be attributed to the play of Tomas Satoransky. The second-year pro from the Czech Republic is making headlines because of his passing skills, but more important he has been a godsend for the Wizards on the defensive end. Satoransky is only giving up just 32% of field goal attempts to opposing point guards and only 0.189 points per possession.

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Raps +/- this season vs Washington
***presented without commentary***
VanVleet 41
Miles 31
Nogueira 28
Siakam 23
Poeltl 0
Anunoby -2
Wright -7
Lowry -12
DeRozan -13
Ibaka -26
Powell -28
Valanciunas -28

— Chris Black (@ByChrisBlack) April 12, 2018
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In the season series between these two teams, it was a split down the middle 2-2, but the strangest thing is the fact that Wall did not play in any of the matchups this season. This situation gives Washington a major advantage due to the fact that they were able to beat the Raptors two times already without arguable their best player suiting up. Washington has developed a knack for beating the best teams in the league and joins the Golden State Warriors as the only teams in the league to have beaten the Rockets, Cavaliers, Celtics and Raptors.

The Wizards will come into Game 1 not showing any fear against a team that they have dominated in the past and competed well against this season. Toronto finished with an amazing point differential of +7.8, which was second best in the NBA behind the Rockets. Part of the reason why the Raptors had so much success this season was the play of the bench unit. Toronto’s bench lead the NBA in point differential by outscoring opponents benches by 10.4 points per game.

The Raptors bench was led by guard Fred VanVleet, who had an amazing season and played extremely well in four games against Washington. The only issues that may arise here are the fact that VanVleet actually got hurt with what the Raptors are calling a bruised shoulder that he suffered in the final minutes of the regular-season finale. If VanVleet is limited in any way, it drastically changes the outlook for the Raptors. Toronto will probably struggle to play all of their bench players their normal allotment of minutes regardless because most teams usually shorten their rotations heading into the postseason. If Washington is able to limit the impact of the Raptors bench and drive them off of the three-point line, the Wizards give themselves a chance to pull off the upset, starting Saturday as 7.5 point underdogs on the road. Take the points for an NBA pick.

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