Curse, broken: Toronto Raptors top Washington Wizards to take Game 1

Lawrence Cooper
April 16, 2018

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has closed Jurassic Park because of wintry weather that has descended on Toronto.

Kyle Lowry's most flattering remarks in his postgame press conference after the Raptors win over the Wizards in the first game of the National Basketball Association playoffs on Saturday weren't about his teammates' play on the court. Instead, a freak ice storm sweeping across Southern Ontario forced it to shut down.

The Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet is out for the opening playoff game against the Wizards on Saturday, the team announced.

It said Maple Leafs Square will resume its regular tailgate programming on Monday. Instead, the Raptors won the way they have all season, and for that, they've earned that reset of expectations.

The Wizards take on the Raptors at 5:30 p.m. ET.

The Raptors jumped out to a fast start, getting big production from Jonas Valanciunas and rookie O.G. Anunoby in his playoff debut - a youngster also tasked with defending Beal.

"Our Game 1 is our Game 7", said Kyle Lowry before the game, per Lori Ewing of The Canadian Press.

Timeline on risky changeover to freezing rain and sleet in southern MI
Ryerson University cancelled afternoon exams on Saturday , although the morning exams were expected to go ahead as scheduled. As well, a rainfall warning and freezing rain alert were issued for Chatham-Kent and Rondeau Park by Environment Canada .

"We won 59 games", All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan said.

Toronto built a 28-23 by the end of the quarter, but Washington quickly pulled ahead in the second. The problem is when you have a chance to steal a road game in the playoffs, you have to do it, as there's a good chance you're not getting that chance again. The Washington Wizards are averaging 106 points on 47.7 percent shooting and allowing 114 points on 53.2 percent shooting.

No sequence on Saturday showed what Toronto is about more than a late-fourth-quarter possession ending in a 3 for Wright. DeMar DeRozan had made only one of his five shots. This time, when the reserves came back in, Powell stayed seated while DeRozan and Lowry shared Van Vleet's minutes.

Just inside the fourth, Washington's Mike Scott threw a vicious shoulder into Lowry as he drove to the hoop, and earned a flagrant foul. In total, Toronto's bench added 42 points, and Delon Wright's 18 were especially huge. And the wiseguys have kept this pointspread in the -8 range, well familiar with the Raptors impressive statistical profile - the only team in the National Basketball Association ranked in the Top 5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Miles, acquired last summer for his long-range shooting, led the way with four, while Wright and Ibaka had three.

The Bucks will also have the best player in the series, forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, and I found past year that teams with this advantage do win somewhat more often than their team stats would suggest. "Serge Ibaka is one of the best, if not the best, big man shooter in the league".

It wasn't an easy victory over the No. 8 seed Wizards, but the Raptors got the job done at home to take a 1-0 series lead. This time, however, Brooks was not trying to teach a lesson, but rather send a message.

Despite struggling down the stretch, recoring nine losses in 12 games, Washington did enjoy some success versus Toronto during the regular season, splitting the teams' four meetings both straight up and against the spread, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

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