The series between the Wizards and the Raptors is now locked at 2-2, and things are starting to heat up. Game 3 saw five technical fouls called, and while the same level of physicality wasn’t evident in Game 4, the desperation to win was plain to see.
Washington took that game out 106-98, largely thanks to their star backcourt. Bradley Beal scored 31 points before fouling out with the scores tied late in the last quarter, and from there John Wall took over. The Wizards point guard ended the game with 27 points, 14 assists and four steals.
For the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan scored 35 points, though he shot 10-for-29 from the field. Kyle Lowry was solid with 19 points and five assists, but there was an absence of other contributors at the offensive end of the floor.
Three keys to the game
Back to Canada - So far this series, all four games have been won by the home team. From Toronto’s perspective, this is not at all surprising. At home during the regular season, they went 34-7 and that number could have been even better were it not for a couple of late season losses which occurred after they had sewn up the number one seed. The home court advantage has been significant so far in this series, and the signs suggest that will again be the case in Game 5.
Toronto’s turnovers - The Raptors were one of the better teams in the league at looking after the ball this season, with their 13.4 turnovers per game the sixth least in the NBA. In the playoffs so far though, they are the worst. They’ve turned it over 17 times per game so far in this series against Washington, and these turnovers have led to 20 points a night for the Wizards.
3-point shooting - Both sides have been shooting extremely well from beyond the arc this series. The Wizards are connecting on 42.2% of their long range attempts, while the Raptors have been even better, going at a strike rate of 43.2% from deep. Logic would dictate that these numbers won’t be maintained, and in a close series whoever drops off first may be punished.
Matchup to watch
Bradley Beal vs DeMar DeRozan - The battle between two of the league’s best shooting guards has been an intriguing one so far. DeRozan hasn’t always performed at his best during the playoffs, but he has been pretty solid so far in this series. He is averaging 28 points per game while shooting at 44% from the field, and is also dishing out five assists. In two of his last three games, he has scored 35 points or more. Beal has been a little more inconsistent, but appears to be coming into some form. After averaging just 14 points on 39.3% shooting in the first two games, he has scored 28 and 31 points in the first Washington leg of the series, and connected on 9 of his 16 long range attempts in these games.
Toronto Raptors predicted starting lineup
PG - Kyle Lowry | SG - DeMar DeRozan | SF - OG Anunoby | PF - Serge Ibaka | C - Jonas Valanciunas
Washington Wizards predicted starting lineup
PG - John Wall | SG - Bradley Beal | SF - Otto Porter Jr | PF - Markieff Morris | C - Marcin Gortat
Wall has been the form player of this series, putting up huge numbers in all four games. He is averaging 26.8 points per game and has not scored less than 23, is dishing out a huge 13 assists, and grabbing 2.8 steals a night. In his 25 career games against Toronto, he averages 19.2 points, 8.0 assists, and 1.4 steals.
The over/under points total for this game has been set at 215, and recent games suggest the over is a good bet. Though Sunday’s matchup totalled just 204 points, this appears to have been an anomaly, as the first three games of the series averaged 231.3 points. Take the over here.
The trend of the home team winning will continue in this game, and the Raptors will earn themselves a 2-1 lead. Both teams rely heavily on their backcourts, and though Beal and Wall both played well through their home leg, DeRozan will once again put up 35 points to sink the Wizards. With a lot more depth coming off the bench, Toronto will be too strong at home, and will run out 115-109 winners.
The game will be broadcast nationally on SOMETHING. Tip-off is at 7pm ET.