Wizards to Extend Home Playoff Streak and Stay Alive vs. Raptors

wizards

Troy Haliburton

Thursday, April 26, 2018 5:03 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 26, 2018 5:03 PM UTC

Washington faces elimination on Friday, but they have won eight straight home playoff games. Will the home-court advantage be enough to push Toronto to a Game 7?

NBA Friday: Raptors (46-40-1 ATS) vs. Wizards (39-47-1 ATS)Free NBA Pick: Wizards -2Best Line Offered: Bovada

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The Toronto Raptors are just one win from escaping another tough first-round playoff matchup, and the only thing standing in their way is a victory in D.C. on Friday night. The Wizards have won eight straight home playoff games and if this series is any indication of predicting future outcomes, then they have a good chance of tying the series and heading back to Toronto for a Game 7.

When the Wizards took an 87-82 lead on Kelly Oubre's three-point play with 8:52 left in the fourth quarter Wednesday in Game 5, it appeared as though the Wizards would be able to pull out the road win they so desperately needed. As the eighth seed, the Wizards are yielding home-court advantage to the Raptors and cannot win the series without winning at least one game in Toronto. Washington had the perfect opportunity to get the upset victory they desired, but a cold streak from beyond the three-point arc and a few costly turnovers turned their five-point lead into a 10-point deficit in the blink of an eye. The Raptors won 108-98 for a 3-2 series lead.

Most of the chatter after the game surrounded the fact that Washington's John Wall played a game-high 44 minutes, including every minute of the second half. It is not uncommon for superstars to play extended minutes in critical situations, but it is abnormal for a player who is showing signs of fatigue to not get a short reprieve.

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Damn, John Wall tired already? pic.twitter.com/MtCuQoCPdY

— Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) April 25, 2018
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If there is any flaw in Scott Brooks' coaching style it has to be his inability to delegate the distribution of minutes among his rotation. Wall missed 41 games during the regular season and returned to game action just two weeks before the playoffs began. It’s obvious that Wall has regained his All-Star form, as he finished the game with 29 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists, but the problem is being able to sustain that play for extended stretches.

The bench for each team will certainly play a role in deciding the outcome of Game 6, in which Washington is a small favorite on the NBA odds board. The Raptors' bench wiped the floor with their Wizards' counterparts in Game 1, outscoring them 42-21, but since then the table has turned. Toronto now has the worst bench of the entire playoff field (-15) when it comes to net rating, while the Wizards have had the second-best bench (+8.2).

Washington’s second unit has been led by forward Mike Scott, who is averaging 12.5 points per game on 69-percent shooting from the field. Oubre has been up and down this series, but has helped provide an energetic spark to the Wizards by impacting the game on the defensive end.

Washington should get a stronger performance from their bench in front of their home crowd and limit the Raptors' three-point shooting, so with your NBA picks go with the Wizards to extend the series.

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