Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards: Lineups, preview & prediction 4/22/18
After an impressive Game 3 win, the Wizards will now be looking to even their series against the Raptors at two games apiece.
At long last, the Washington Wizards finally showed life in this series. The Wiz came away with a dominant 122-103 win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 at home. Their All-Star backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal led the way as they scored 28 points apiece. Wall also added 14 assists and four steals. However, it was Markieff Morris who set the tone in this game with his physical play in just 18 minutes of action. Morris got into it with Raptors rookie OG Anunoby early in the game, which helped spark his team into action.
Unfortunately, the Raptors didn’t seem to react too well to that as they got blown out on the road. All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry did their best to keep the team in it as they combined for 42 points. However, their supporting cast finally let them down. Serge Ibaka disappeared as he finished with just three points on 1-of-4 shooting. Meanwhile, their much-praised bench fell back down to earth as they didn’t have nearly the same impact on the game.
Three keys to the game
Wizards swagger – This is more like the Wizards team that everyone is used to. Morris successfully set the tone for them with his don’t-back-down attitude, which this team has used to thrive over the past few years. The trick for them now is to carry over that swagger into Game 3 and continue to play the way they’re capable of.
Raptors reaction – On the flipside, it’s now the Raptors’ turn to react following their first piece of adversity in these playoffs. That responsibility should come from their two leaders, Lowry and DeRozan. But apart from the attitude, they’ll also need the production to be their from their two stars, particularly Lowry.
Turnovers – Toronto’s turnovers killed them in Game 3. They gave it up 18 times, which was seven more than the Wizards and five more than their season average. The Wizards are at their deadliest when they get the chance to run and get easy points in transition, and the Raptors miscues helped fuel that in Game 3. They must clean up their game and take better care of the ball to prevent a repeat performance in Game 4.
Matchup to watch
Kyle Lowry vs John Wall – Despite the Wizards going down 2-0, Wall has been awesome in the playoffs. And in Game 3, he took it to another level. The Wizards point guard now has his running back in Beal back, which will make him that much more dangerous. That’s why it’s imperative for the Raptors that Lowry gets going. Before his strong Game 3, Lowry had shot a mere 7-of-19 in the first two games. With the Wizards sensing their way back into the series, this matchup of the two All-Star point guards will get much more interesting.
Raptors projected starting lineup
PG – Kyle Lowry | SG – DeMar DeRozan | SF – OG Anunoby | PF – Serge Ibaka | C – Jonas Valanciunas
Wizards projected starting lineup
PG – John Wall | SG – Bradley Beal | SF – Otto Porter | PF – Markieff Morris | C – Marcin Gortat
Even with his lack of scoring, Lowry has been solid fantasy-wise, averaging 14 points, five rebounds, ten assists, and two steals. DeRozan hasn’t been too shabby himself with 26 points and five assists. But despite his awful Game 3, don’t discount Ibaka. The veteran big man was averaging 16.5 points, 10.5 boards, and 2.5 blocks in the first two games.
As for the Wizards, Wall has been remarkable in the postseason putting up nearly 27 points, 13 assists, and three steals per game. Beal should also accompany him in that stud fantasy performer category after getting back on track. Kelly Oubre will also be an intriguing pick given his promising play of late. He’s averaging 13.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.5 stocks (steals and blocks) in the last two games.
The Wizards are back in this thing. They have shown just how dangerous they can be when their top two stars – Wall and Beal – are on top of their games. It will probably be a more competitive game than in Game 3, but the Wiz have the firepower to pull it off. Take the Wizards to win and cover on the road.
The Wizards even up this series as they bring down the Raptors, 108-103.
This game will be broadcast on TNT. Tip-off is at 6:00 pm Eastern.