Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards - 4/17/18 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

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They have been losing lately without Steph Curry but I think they are just bored and eager for the playoffs to begin.

I say, this is a guy who's incredibly easy to cheer for.

Raptors fans, however, might lose some sleep over the team's ill-boding opener.

It was a dramatic change from past playoffs, when the offence lived or died with whether Lowry and DeRozan made their shots, and when the post-Game 1 media sessions had the air of a funeral.

There was no one else stepping up as Wall didn't produce a basket in the fourth until there were 25 seconds remaining.

The reason why the game meant so much to Lowry was that the Raptors have traditionally struggled in Game 1 situations.

"We've been here before", Beal said. "VanVleet didn't play tonight but Wright came in and had a terrific game". The absence of Kawhi Leonard will hurt the Spurs and so they lose to the Warriors in five games. "That's the mentality that we have to have".

No player fits that bill quite like Miles, a dead-eye shooter who scored 12 points on eight shooting possessions Saturday, going 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Toronto stands in the middle of the pack in the league on the glass, ranking 14 with 44 boards per game.

But Edmonton, I'm telling you. Opponents scheming for Toronto tend to adopt a specific game plan: Take the ball out of the hands of Lowry and DeRozan and make it find Toronto's big men. "We're a different team, different style of play, different people, different egos".

A reporter asked him to expand on why the team's been "uptight".

"They jumped on us", Brooks said.

Moving the rock: In a regular season where the Raptors moved from 30th in assists to sixth, Dwane Casey credits the team's chemistry for helping with the transition. "You know, we live with those".

And while the rest of Edmonton pulls from their drawer of hockey sweaters, we pick through that little back corner of Champs, where they keep the baby Raptors onesies and the XXL Jonas Valanciunas jerseys that don't fit us, as the attendant shrugs, "Everything we've got is out there". "That's the way we have to approach it and not overthink it".

The Toronto Raptors look for another victory to ease some tension and take a 2-0 series lead. For one: there's no Paul Pierce, who was Public Enemy No. 1 two straight series with Brooklyn and Washington.

The Raptors cleaned a lot of that up after halftime, and their world-destroying bench did their usual damage in a 114-106 win. As the series opener showed, the old book on the Raptors is outdated.

"Playoff games are tough", Casey said. "There are no good memories, no good things".

The Warriors now lead the series 1-0, and while Gregg Popovich will make adjustments, it's hard to imagine what he could do with the players at his disposal that would change the outcome of this series with the way the Warriors have dialed in. Multi-season streaks in the National Basketball Association are amusing things because each team is its own organism - different players, different schemes, different vibes. Casey is proud of his team's growth. Forty-two points? It's not just the total; as Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said, it's the way they went about accumulating them. "That growth is precious".