VanVleet is averaging 20.0 minutes and 18.8 FanDuel points per game this season.
Not too long after the game's tip, Drake appeared in his usual courtside seat along Toronto's sideline, the ideal spot to encourage his beloved Raptors and taunt his National Basketball Association friends from other teams. The storm also closed "Jurassic Park" - or Maple Leaf Square - where thousands of fans traditionally congregate to watch the game on the big screen outside the ACC. The score was 59-55, though, and Lowry and DeRozan had four assists apiece. We have to do a better job of guarding all their players.
The Raptors proved that Saturday night when they opened the post-season with a solid 114-106 victory over the Washington Wizards, ending a woeful Game 1 losing streak that had stretched back to 2001 - and one the team had grown tired of hearing about. After taking a 1-0 series lead for the first time since he was an assistant coach in Dallas, Raptors coach Dwane Casey credited the guards for taking what the Wizards gave them.
Toronto played without Sixth Man of the Year candidate Fred Van Vleet. The undrafted backup point guard, who has evolved into the leader of Toronto's top-rated bench, was still recovering from a shoulder bruise suffered in the regular season finale. The problem was on the other end, where it struggled containing pick-and-rolls and uncharacteristically gave up a few wide-open looks at the rim, surrendering 36 points in the second quarter. Wall and Beal had combined for 21 points by half time, while Lowry and DeRozan had hit just two field goals between them, on only eight shots - pairing for just seven points.
An X-ray came back negative, and he was listed at day-to-day following the injury. "It's a journey, it's a marathon", Casey said.
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If you paid attention to the Raptors in the regular season (or read this story), you know all about their "culture reset" and offensive transformation: Despite finishing sixth in offensive rating last season, they installed a completely new system in training camp, one which required their primary scorers to sacrifice touches, empower their teammates and move without the ball.
"They have a lot of good players".
"Their bench was great", Wall said after the game. Then hot shooting from Wright and C.J Miles propelled Toronto forward. "As long as those guys are producing the way they are, why should we change our rotation?"
The Raps made 16 three-pointers to Washington's eight. They've been doing it all year... (Serge) Ibaka, he's a terrific shooter.
Game 2 is Tuesday in Toronto then the series heads to Washington for Game 3.