Did you know….that the Toronto Raptors have not won “Game 1” of any playoff series for many years now? Yes, I know, it’s odd and sad. But truth be told that, after a hard fought battle, that the Toronto Raptors won game 1 at home. Finally! Considered the fact that so many Raptors fans had to battle the freezing rain storms to make an effort to see the Raptors, everyone goes home happy knowing their effort didn’t go down to waste.
I was at the game #1 of the Raptors game to witness the victory.
MoVernie Analysis: Round 1, Game 1. Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards @ Air Canada Centre
- The Raptors 2nd Unit Bench Mob won the game for the Toronto Raptors. Guys like Delon Wright made some crucial shots down the stretch, so did CJ Miles.
- Unfortunately, the two core all-stars, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry didn’t show up yet again in the playoffs. Both players combined for just only 7 pts after the 1st half. The question is….why are both players still struggle to step up and have a statement game? Of all these playoff years, how come we can’t have a game or two where every Raptors fans can relax and watch both of them took the game early in the game and win a game? Why does every single time, the team had to fight so hard til the end to hope the calls or shot swing to us and win the game?
- However, to his credit, DeMar DeRozan did have a stretch of 4 minutes right after the half-time where he took the game over and start being assertive, taking shots, going to the net to draw foul, drained an important 3 to move the Raptors from the losing deficit to taking the lead. Lowry, in the 4th quarter, did made some nice passes to his teammates.
- The difference in this game? Instead of having both struggling DeRozan and Lowry taking all the shots and miss, they gave the ball to other players to take the shot. Does this mean “Cultural Re-set” is really happening? Not quite, you can’t base on 1 game and say, “in conclusion, Cultural Re-set is happening permanently. Come talk to me when this Raptors playoffs is over and then we can discuss it.
- Can we conclude that…..”DeRozan & Lowry, the 2 KEY players basically disappears comes playoffs and will rely on its 2nd Unit to bail them out every single playoff game?”. Again, not quite, although this is my theory, but I can’t make this as a conclusion until the Raptors playoffs are over, then we can analyze.
- What we can conclude from this game #1 though, is that…..Raptors will not win this game if they didn’t have a strong 2nd Unit, relying on the struggling results from DeRozan and Lowry tonight would have translated into another game 1 loss.
- Serge Ibaka, in my opinion, played his best game as a Toronto Raptors. He was banging in the paint, fighting for every rebound, he was posting up, going into the paint, which he rarely did that during the regular season, instead, he just kept shooting 3’s and missed. Not tonight, he made many great shots and finishing with a team high of 23 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks.
- OG Anunoby was impressive tonight, playing well both offensively and defensiveness, finishing 5/9 from the field goal and finishing with 12 points. What’s important was how early he set the tone in the 1st quarter when most of the focal points were on the other 4 Raptors starters to take shots and OG more of a human body standing around on the court. Instead, OG made his presence by drilling two 3pters early on in the 1st quarter, that really spread the floor, as Wizards players had to respect OG’s offensive game as well.
- It was an ugly game and quite questionable on Coach Casey part on not giving more touches to Jonas Valanciunas. Both Wizards centres, Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi were both battling with foul troubles that would be a perfect time to feed JV down low to get as many shots as possible. Instead, Coach Casey stayed away from that golden opportunity, it’s mind boggling to me that he failed to recognize the lack of tall guys from the Wizards.
- Let’s not kid ourselves, the #1 seed Raptors had to fight so damn hard in this game against a #8 seed Wizards throughout the entire game. Raptors didn’t pull ahead until like 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter. Look at the Wizards bench, where were the solid contributors on its roster? Basically not very much. It would be really sad if the Raptors will take 6 or more games to take this series.
All-and-all, it’s an ugly win for the Toronto Raptors. Their 2nd unit won this game for them. Raptors made a lot of incredible 3pter shots tonight and they shot 53.3% behind the arc, we sure all know that this type of high % isn’t normal or going to last for the rest of the playoff series. The question is….will Cultural Re-set really happening when the game is on the line? Or the coach will go back to ISO when the game is less than 2 minutes left, DeRozan or Lowry is going to take an 18-footer shot in the free throw area? REAL question is…can the Toronto Raptors get deep in the playoffs without DeRozan and Lowry showing up for many of the future playoffs games and survive, it’s still early. I am not convinced after game 1 victory.
The Raptors slogan is “Prove Them”, for me, “Prove me wrong”. Let’s talk after this entire Raptors playoffs is over, shall we?
Let me know your thoughts! Luv to hear from you!
And MoVernie is outta here!