"Why do the Cavs switch so easily?" Here's why.

There have been a great deal of people complaining about the Cavs switching Kevin Durant so easily and consistently last night as Durant was on his way to a monstrous 43 point night while needing just 26(!!!!!) shot equivalents to get there.

Random people on twitter posing this question is understandable, Durant single-handedly shredded the Cavs in game 3 so it would make sense. But whether it be Mark Jackson on the broadcast or profesional poop-stain Skip Bayless on twitter, it is not as simple as simply "fighting through" the screen.

Here is why:

 

See this play? The Warriors are totally committed to getting Kevin Love on Kevin Durant. LeBron gets around the screen two different times. But they keep coming, and with the ball in Iguodala's hands he then slips the screen for an open dunk.

It is worth mentioning that the Cavs could've defended this better. Rodney Hood should've helped off of Draymond Green, but he had only just switched off of Klay Thompson and doesn't react in time. 

That is really the biggest point here. If everyone reacts perfectly behind this play you can survive it, but the reality is that perfection is impossible. The Warriors are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, and have been for several years now. They basically invented the switch-heavy scheme that dominated much of the playoffs this year and have a roster littered with elite defenders. Even so, they allow Steph Curry to get switched onto LeBron consistently, the reason being that it is just simpler that way. If the Warriors are worried about making all of the correct rotations and reads, then there is no way this Cavs team is going to be able to do it consistently.

This is, in a vacuum, why it is so unfair to have Kevin Durant on this Warriors team. With most great teams you have to make choices that are not comfortable. Choosing the lesser of two evils. Before Durant arrived, the way to combat this Warriors team was to switch everything, overplay Steph to shoot threes, and make them beat you as a drive and kick team. Curry is still great at that, but he doesn't draw a lot of fouls and can be turnover prone, so even if it isn't a great option and the Warriors can beat you like that, it is clearly preferable to them bombing threes.

Now, if you force that, the Warriors are hitting you with one of the greatest walking mismatches to ever live. It isn't as simple as "fight through the screen." They will screen and rescreen until there is one mistake. These are the Warriors. With the death lineup in, they have 3 of the best shooters to ever live, and two of the best playmaking wing/big players in the NBA on the floor. If one of Iggy/Draymond is the screener (which is most of the time) then you have one guy you can help off of, and that guy is still a great playmaker. If you do not switch everything, you are giving up open dunks or open threes. It isn't "Fight through and make perfect rotations every play for 48 minutes." The 04 Pistons couldn't do that against this Warriors team. You choose between Kevin Durant attacking Kevin Love and George Hill in isolation or giving up open dunks and threes. Those are your choices. Either way you lose, and that is why Durant makes this Warriors team invincible. He had a poor Western Conference Finals (by his lofty standards) and literally set a record for points in the Conference Finals. 

In the end, the Cavs made the right call most of the night to just switch everything. You take Durant going isolation constantly and hoping he misses to giving up wide open dunks and threes because that is when the Warriors become a raging ball of death that will destroy everything in site. Essentially try and make the game LeBron vs. Durant. The problem is that Kevin Durant is the only man alive who can go toe to toe with LeBron and come out on top with anything amounting to consistency. 

Obvoiusly this is not to absolve LeBron and the Cavs here. There have been too many defensive breakdowns, and LeBron has not always been up to his standards. But the whole "why are they switching so easily" is just wrong. 

Game Recap/Notes: Round 2, Game 1: Raptors 112 - Cavs 113 (OT) (Cavs lead 1-0)

Well that was bad. In other news there is something comforting to be reminded that after a decade+ of missing it, it is absolutely terrifying and awful to be rooting against LeBron James in a playoff series. (I know the Piston played the Cavs a couple years ago but we all knew the Pistons didn't really stand a chance so it was different.)

 

 

Box score.

 

Kyle Lowry:

I will need a second look to really judge his defense, but despite some late-game struggles this was actually a pretty good game from Lowry. 18 points on 13 shot equivalents with 10 assists (even with the 4 turnovers) is not a bad finish line. The problem of course is that, other than an and-1 in the closing moments, Lowry did have a bit of a disappearing act in the closing moments of the game and the way he called a panic timeout and then turned around and took a five second call on the inbounds was very bad.

In the end, the real problem was not really that Lowry played poorly, its just that when the chips were down he couldn't quite get it done and more so, didn't really raise his game. It is talked about too much, but there is a reason, the greats raise their play in big games. Lowry just couldn't really do it. The good news remains that he still played pretty well so there is good reason to hope that he can have a game or two this series where he really goes off.

 

DeMar DeRozan:

Same story as Lowry. 22 points on 21 shot equivalents with 5 assists is not a bad outing, especially when you consider that DeRozan actually held up very well on the defensive end of the floor in some tough situations. The problem is that he had just a decent game and couldn't make the necessary plays down the stretch to put the game away. The one thing that can be said for him is that he took and absolute shot form Kevin Love that would've made me quit sports forever and he just kind of kept playing. I'm not saying it bothered him (it didn't look like it) but still worth mentioning. Once again, there is good news, if DeRozan can bring that defensive effort all series it will help the Raptors.

 

OG Anunoby:

Got it done when called upon on offense once again which will remain a very important thing for the Raptors by scoring 7 points on his 5 shots. The bad news is that he joins an ever growing list of young guys with all the tools to guard LeBron and make you go “Wow he looks to be doing a very solid job” and then you check the box score and realize that LeBron is probably not nearly as bothered as you would think he is. I can personally attest to this with Stanley Johnson a couple of years ago. LeBron didn't have an efficient scoring night thanks to some bad three-point shooting and late-game gaffs but anyone who watched that game and thought he was struggling would be wrong.

That said, it isn't like Anunoby did poorly. He did generally make LeBron work at least a bit for his production which is something. He also continues to hit enough shots on offense that defenses can't ignore him. I would guess he gets more minutes in game 2.

 

Serge Ibaka:

Ouch. Ibaka finding his offense back was an important factor for the Raptors. It didn't happen. He scored just 9 points on as many shot equivalents and only grabbed 2 rebounds in 29 minutes. He didn't really even seem to make much impact on defense. Just a bad game for Ibaka, he has to be better the rest of this series. They could get by the Wizards with Ibaka being trash most of the series, harder to do that against LeBron's Cavaliers.

 

Jonas Valanciunas:

On the plus side, the Raptors really got him involved against the smaller Cavs lineups in the second half and he really asserted himself for a while and forced the Cavs to put in Tristan Thompson. The bad news is that when Thompson got in the game Valanciunas basically disappeared. It will be important for them to continue to feed him when the Cavs go small, those lineups remain the scariest Cavs lineups since they are literally unstoppable on the other end and that is how you really take advantage of them. But there has to be a happy spot the rest of the time.

Oh yeah it was also brutal to see him miss so many tips at the end of the game that could've won it.

 

Pascal Siakam:

First off, I continue to be hugely impressed with the way this dude defends. He also got 11 points on just 5 shots which was nice. The downside for him is something I hadn't actually thought of before the series. In theory Siakam might be the best option to hold LeBron on defense, the problem is that LeBron will guard Siakam on the other end and his lack of shooting suddenly allows LeBron to play free safety on that end which is where he is scariest. This fact is a significant reason I am going to play OG more minutes from now on.

 

CJ Miles:

You know the drill. He had 6 points on 6 shots. Decent night for Miles.

 

Jakob Poeltl:

Poeltl continues to struggle in the playoffs. All 4 of his points came at the free throw line as he missed all 3 of his shots from the field, he wasn't impactful on defense, and just generally not very good. He may not be exactly a big difference maker most of the time but he is a real player and the Raptors could really use him back in form.

 

Delon Wright:

The super games from the first round are probably going (largely because FVV is taking some of those minutes away) but he still did decent. 5 points on 6 shots is fine and he still brings good defensive effort.

 

Fred VanVleet:

9 points on 7 shots in 15 minutes is pretty good. The bad news is that he had a pair of wide open threes that would've won the game and he missed them. That stings.

 

General:

The biggest worry is that there was not a lot that said “Fluke” here. DeRozan and Lowry were not great but they were not bad either. LeBron didn't go full destroyer mode, the Cavs didn't shoot 50%+ from deep. The Raptors blew it at the end, but the overall numbers still paint a close game where the better team probably won. That is bad. I still think the Raptors will get it done, but they will have to make real changes.

 

 

What do you think? Can the bench get back right? Can they adjust to Thompson not being hot garbage anymore?

Opponent Scouting: Round 2. Cleveland Cavaliers. (Beat Pacers 4-3 in round 1)

The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Indiana Pacers in 7 games yesterday which will pitt the Raptors against them in the second round. Game 1 will be tomorrow night at 8:00pm EST.

 

The Them:

The Cleveland Cavaliers (and this matchup in general) are very difficult to judge and predict for these playoffs. On paper they are not a very good team, but they also have the greatest player to ever live (fight me) who also has proven he turns up in the playoffs.

Over the course of the season the Cavs were a high-level offensive team by scoring 110.6 points per 100 possessions (5th in the NBA, worse than the Raptors by the way) while their defense was, um, not good. The Cleveland Cavaliers feature the 29th defensive efficiency in the NBA by allowing 109.5 points per 100 possessions. As a kind reminder, there are only 30 teams in the NBA. The Cavs were worse defensively than the Bulls and the Kings. Their net rating of +1.0 per 100 possessions put them at 13th in the NBA this season.

The Cavaliers are of course led by LeBron James. LeBron James is very good at basketball. In the first round he played 41.2 minutes per game, scored 34.4 points, dished 7.7 assists, and grabbed 10.1 rebounds per game. He also shot 55.3% from the floor and 35.3% from deep. Oh he also had 1.4 steals and 1 block per game too. It is unclear how long he will keep it up, but LeBron remains on top of his game and is the most destructive player to ever live.

Beyond LeBron things are not pretty for the Cavs. Kevin Love had a terrible first round, scoring just 11.4 points per game and shooting 33.3% from the field, (ironically he shot 40% from deep) but he is clearly capable of a lot more than that, how Kevin Love plays could have a big impact on this series. In theory he is one of the most versatile stretch 4s in the NBA who allows you to get all of the shooting and playmaking of going small without having to sacrifice on the boards by actually going small. He isn't a good defender but he is better than his reputation, he mostly plays hard and that is half the battle.

After Love it gets even worse, George Hill has not been much good with the Cavs, he still has length on defense and can shoot a bit but he has done very little beyond play fairly competent defense and hit the occasional 3. JR Smith had a rough season although his three-point shot came around as the season went on, despite a rough opening series we all know that Smith can get hot at any time from deep and he still mostly competes on defense even if he makes mental mistakes. Rodney Hook can do some of everything but hasn't really found his flow with the Cavaliers and only played 18.8 minutes per game in the first round. Kyle Korver is one of the world's deadliest shooters while also being the sort of smart and tough defender that makes your team better on that end even if he isn't ever going to individually lock down guys. Jeff Green is a good athlete and occasionally does good things. Larry Nance Jr. is a really good athelete and smart defender. Tristan Thompson had a terrible season but finally showed up in game 7, in theory he is a solid defender and his combination of hustle and athleticism allows him to find buckets on offense, but once again he's been terrible most of the season. Jordan Clarkson is still a guy who can get some buckets off the bench but not a lot else. Jose Calderon can shoot three's.

This team looked an awful lot like LeBron and the Quicken Loans Arena janitorial staff in the first round. Other guys will likely play better in this second round but it is still mostly a one man show. Basically this is a very bad team that survives and is buoyed by the sheer greatness of LeBron James.

 

 

Matchups to watch:

  • Raptors vs. LeBron: This is a problem. LeBron is obviously a problem for everyone but even more so for the Raptors. OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam are probably the best options to guard him, but Anunoby is 20 years old, and Siakam is a little bit thin. It is the most gaping hole I see in this series for the Raptors, in the end the Raptors are probably going to need a true team effort to contain LeBron. They will have to rotate to him and then back out onto shooters, the good news is that the Raptors are really good at that.

  • Kevin Love vs. What getting right: Love was very bad in the first round. Love is not a very bad player, he is in fact a very good one. Also, despite the struggles he has had against the Warriors at times, he has been a huge problem for Eastern Conference teams at times. If Love gets back into peak form then the Cavs become a much deadlier team. If he plays as poorly as he did in round one I struggle to see the Cavs mustering enough to beat the Raptors, if he gets back into form however...

  • Serge Ibaka vs. Getting right: He played pretty well defensively, but after the first game Ibaka really struggled offensively. The Cavs are a very leaky defense and are likely to yield plenty of open looks to Ibaka, if he can get back to nailing those looks the Raptors will be in good shape.

  • Lowry/DeRozan vs. Not letting up: Perhaps putting together the best collective series in their time together in Toronto in round one, the Trash Bros need to keep that same play up. The Cavs have a very uninspiring back-court which should make things easier for them.

  • DeRozan vs. Finding the balance: There is a very good chance DeRozan does very well in this series. The Cavs have very little in the way of high-level wing defenders to hold him in check. The challenge will be to resist the urge to try and go isolation every time he feels he has an advantage, because they need to run other things at least occasionally.

  • OG Anunoby vs. Hitting shots: OG was awesome in his limited minutes and roles in the first round. He will miss more shots almost certainly, but he can't go cold. If he goes cold it will allow LeBron to go into free-safety mode which makes the Cavaliers much less laughable on defense.

  • Bench Mob vs. Being awesome still: It wasn't always great but the bench mostly performed in the first round. Delon Wright was especially impressive. Assuming Fred VanVleet is ready to go I see no reason for the bench mob to not be in full form.

  • Tristan Thompson vs. Not being hot garbage: Like Love except not as much. When he wasn't hurt, Kevin Love actually had a good year, I'd actually expect him to bounce back from the last series. Thompson had a terrible season, but he woke up in game 7 against the Pacers and has been a useful player the rest of his career. If he is suddenly playable again then the Cavs are much more formidable. They have a real paint presence on defense and the Cavs potential to go big at that point is especially dangerous for the Raptors. If LeBron is at small forward it is hard to play the 3 guard lineups the Raptors love so much.

  • Jonas Valanciunas vs. Continuing to be Playoff JV: Valanciunas had another big playoff series in the opening round and remains one of the few Raptors who can say he has consistently raised his game in the playoffs. Especially if Thompson doesn't have some revival, Valanciunas should have a good chance to really assert himself in the paint against soft and/or undersized interior defenders.

  • Raptors vs. Getting over any mental hurdles: It is hard to argue against the idea that LeBron had taken a mental toll on the Raptors after last year's exit from the playoffs. I don't know that the Raptors are coming into this series afraid, but if LeBron comes out and drops 40+ to win game 1 it would be almost impossible to not have flashbacks.

  • Raptors vs. Owning this moment: Tied into the above. The Raptors are the better team here, by a wide margin. The Cavs and Pacers were almost even, which is what they were all season. The Raptors have been far superior all season. They are the best team in the East and LeBron's team is awful. I'm not saying the Raptors window is closed after this year, but if there is a year to do it this is it. Go and get that shit. Be the team to beat LeBron while he is still at the hieght of his powers and then go and try to shock the world by beating the Warriors or Rockets.

 

 

So in conclusion...

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • DeRozan is constantly containing chuckles when he see's who is guarding him on a possession by possession basis.

  • Anunoby, Siakam, and good team defense actually keeps LeBron from destroying everything.

  • Kevin Love is still off and Tristan Thompson isn't actually having a revival.

  • The bench mob comes out and swallows up the Cavs for the few minutes per night when LeBron sits.

 

Run for the hills if:

  • LeBron is walking on water.

  • Kevin Love is back to being as good as he can be, becoming a huge matchup problem.

  • Any number of Cavs role players (Smith, Hill, Hood etc.) bounce back from terrible first rounds and the Cavs suddenly become a death-star on offense again.

  • The Raptors back-court is not dominating their Cavalier counter-parts.

 

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • LeBron does some absolutely absurd things in a truthfully Herculean effort to drag this Cavs team to the next round.

  • Both trash bros are near unstoppable the entire series.

  • Kevin Love comes out and has a good series, Thompson does not.

  • Through the sheer force of will of LeBron James the Cavs stick around but nothing LeBron can do can make up for how terrible the Cavs are defensively.

  • Raptors in 5.

 

 

What do you think? Will Kevin Love show up? Can they contain LeBron?

Game Recap/Notes: First Round, Game 4. Raptors 98 - Wizards 106. (Series tied 2-2)

What have you all gotten me into.

 

Box score.

 

Kyle Lowry:

For his part, Lowry played pretty well. 19 points on 15 shots with 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and a pair of steals in 39 minutes. But there does remain a certain passivity to his game on offense so far in this series that is a bit worrying. In the end though, his offense has been fine to good, I mostly would like to see him have a game where he really is aggressive and asserts himself I suppose. The bigger issue is with John Wall. Wall is a uniquely bad matchup for Lowry and the Raptors, because Lowry is a high-level defender and a not small amount of what the Raptors do on defense relies on him being a plus defender. Against the speed and size of Wall Lowry suddenly has to be almost treated as a minus defender, often being hidden on a wing player and often offering minimal resistance to Wall when he covers him. This was, quite frankly, my biggest worry coming into the series and it has been a big problem. Still, Lowry had a pretty good game.

 

DeMar DeRozan:

DeRozan really got his in a big way, the problem is that he had to do a ton of work to get his. His 35 points required 37 shot equivalents (14-18 at the line!!) to score and he shot just 10-29 overall from the field. He did add on 6 assists and 6 rebounds, but those 6 assists are against 4 turnovers. To be clear, I don't think DeRozan had a bad game, the Raptors had very little else going for them on offense in this game and sometimes you have to be willing to just be a volume scorer. But I would guess that the Wizards will take DeRozan scoring at a clip of less than 1 point per possession regardless of how many he ends up pouring in.

 

OG Anunoby:

Played 22 minutes, scored 4 points on 3 shots. One thing, I think that perhaps, until Freddy comes back at least, they should maybe think about actually playing Anunoby starter minutes. I know it has been normal operating procedure to play the bench guys more, it has generally been Delon Wright in this series and Wright has been really good. But I think Anunoby has really played solid ball, even if he got 3 fouls in those 22 minutes. Maybe see what it looks like to have him in the closing group.

 

Serge Ibaka:

Ouch. Serge had a great game 1, not so good since. Yesterday he scored just 7 points on as many shot equivalents with 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 4 turnovers in 34 minutes. That is quite bad. The Wizards have changed up their defensive strategy a bit to lessen the damage of the secondary guys, but he has to produce a bit more than this.

 

Jonas Valanciunas:

Only played 15 minutes and he got 3 fouls in that time. Still though, 11 points on 7 equivalents with 3 rebounds and a block. He also had 3 turnovers which is, bad. I know all of the reasons to not play him more, especially against a team like the Wizards, but I am officially joining the group of people who think maybe let JV play a bit more. He has killed smaller teams at times in his career, maybe see if he could be unleashed against one of the Wizards small-ball groups and wreck havoc.

 

Delon Wright:

7 points on 7 shots with 5 assists and a massive block on John Wall in 27 minutes. He has essentially filled the role of being the honorary 5th starter in this series and he has mostly responded well. I've been impressed with how he has held up defensively against John Wall, he obviously hasn't held him in check but he's still been ok.

 

Jakob Poeltl:

Got the lions share of minutes at center with 24, scored 10 points with 7 rebounds. It was nice to see him perk up a bit after being straight booty in the first 3 games but I still feel like he is really struggling defensively in this series.

 

CJ Miles:

You know the drill here. Did he hit a bunch of 3s? He went 0-3 and hit 1 two pointer and finished with 2 points. So no, he didn't hit a bunch of 3s. That means it was a bad game.

 

Pascal Siakam:

Bit of an up and down series for Siakam. He had a couple of nice moments on both ends in this game, but 3 points on 4 shots with 3 rebounds and 3 blocks is a fine line for 18 minutes.

 

General:

John Wall is a demon. The Wizards are better than your typical 8th seed, but Wall remains the reason they were scary before the series. The same reason why, even if they were not decimated by injuires, the Celtics and anyone else should worry about the Bucks with Giannis, and why everyone should be worried about the Pelicans with Anthony Davis. Very often the team with the best player wins the playoff series, John Wall is very capable of being the best player in this series and any other, same with Giannis and Davis. So even if they are lower seeds, they are still scary.

The Raptors get to go back home which should help, but there is no way around it. This loss stings and is a real problem. If they had held on to win then everything would be largely on track. Close games because the Wizards are better than most 8 seeds, and the Wizards won game 3 with a great effort, but the Raptors would still be up 3-1 heading back home. I'm still pretty confident the Raptors will win the series, but this game should send real worry signals to everyone.

A thing beyond Wall (and Beal) is that the Wizards have tweaked their game plan in a positive direction I think. They started off overplaying Lowry and DeRozan to make other people beat them, they have shifted that the other way now which I think they should've done from the start. Lowry and DeRozan are good, but John Wall is a terror on defense to keep Lowry in check. The reality is that the Wizards may be the team best equipped with long-armed defenders to make DeRozan work hard for points in the entire league as well.

 

 

What do you think? Should Anunoby and/or JV get more playing time? Should DeRozan be less aggressive?

Opponent Scouting: Washington Bullets. Round 1, Game 4. (Raptors lead 2-1)

Today at 6:00pm EST the Raptors will be in Washington to play the Wizards in game 4 of the first round. The Wizards won a resounding game 3 victory and the Raptors will be looking to bounce-back.

 

Why didn't you recap last game?

Mostly because I ended up having to work a ton. Also because I want you all to like me and since they lost I would've had to say mean things about some of the players and this way I can pretend everything is good and feed your homerism. (Really tho I worked like 40 hours over 3 days and the moment that game was done I was like “sleep now” and that was it lol)

 

The Them:

Perhaps slightly rejuvenated, but otherwise unchanged. No new injuries or anything like that as far as I know.

 

Matchups to watch:

  • Raptors vs. Getting back to defense: They held Bradley Beal in check in the first two games, not so much in game 3. Beal is a really good player so it was unrealistic to expect them to hold him all series (especially without an elite individual defender to lock him down) but they need to prove that the last game was just a good player beating good defense.

  • Raptors bench mob vs. Doing better: First off game of the series for the Raptors bench and they couldn't really survive it. The problem is really that the Raptors bench is, on paper, the area where the Raptors should separate the most, but Mike Scott and to a lesser extent Oubre and Lawson have really been problems. If the Wizards bench mob stays even close to the Raptors bench mob it is a win for the Wizards.

  • John Wall vs. Destroyer Mode: I've brought it up a lot, but when this dude is on he is a freaking terror on both ends of the floor. When he started knocking down jump-shots in the mid-range last time out you knew the Raptors were in trouble. If Wall is on his game it will continue to be very difficult for the Raptors.

  • Lowry/DeRozan vs. Repeating: Neither had especially remarkable games last time out, DeRozan was especially meh, but they both still played alright. They can't get over-zealous while still being aggressive. It's a hard balance to find but they need it.

  • Wizards vs. Defense: It has been a constant with this group for the Wizards. They have the guys to be an elite defensive team, but they are very often too lazy to actually pull it off. They defended at a high level in game 3, we will see what shows up for game 4.

 

 

So in conclusion...

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • DeRozan is getting buckets again.

  • The Raptors bench just had an off night and is back to being awesome.

  • The Wizards are falling right back into bad habits defensively.

 

Run for the hills if:

  • John Wall is controlling the game on both ends of the floor.

  • Bradley Beal is hitting shots.

  • Mike Scott is the best bench player on either team.

 

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • The Raptor bench bounces back.

  • Beal has another good game, Wall has an off night.

  • Lowry takes on a bigger scoring load.

  • Raptors win a competitive game where they lead for most of the game.

  • Raptors 111 – Wizards 107.

 

 

What do you think? Can the Raptors get back on track? Can they contain the Wizard back-court?

Opponent Scouting: Washington Bullets. Game #3. (Raps lead 2-0)

Tonight at 8:00pm EST the Raptors will head to Washington for game 3 of their series vs. the Wizards. The Raptors lead 2-0.

 

The Them:

The Wizards should remain unchanged as far as I know. It's still Wall and Mike Scott leading the way, if they can get some contributions from secondary guys like Bradley Beal they could become dangerous though.

 

Matchups to watch:

  • Raptors vs. Containing Beal: Despite the joke above, Bradley Beal is legitimately an awesome player. Dude can ball. The Raptors keeping him in check in the first two games is a huge reason they are up 2-0, if they let him get going this series could swing very quickly.

  • DeRozan vs. Destroyer of worlds: Dropping buckets like that against a team that is brimming with long defenders to throw at him was hugely impressive. DeRozan doesn't have to score that many, but if he is getting his shot like that then the Raptors are nearly impossible to beat.

  • Lowry vs. Getting some buckets: Lowry has played really well defensively and facilitated well. His numbers are not that eye-popping but he's been good. That said, the Raptors will need him to score more at some point, they may not need it against the Wizards but if he could get going it would be nice.

  • Raptors vs. Stepping down hard: If the Wizards can win this game they have real life, Raptors win and its pretty much over. Don't let up, finish what you started. Its too late to be scared, its time to kill.

  • OG Anunoby vs. Being good: He's had a really nice opening 2 games by making plays when they are there to be made. If that can be a pattern in the playoffs it would be huge for the Raptors.

 

 

So in conclusion...

 

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • Bradley Beal is the new trash bro.

  • DeRozan is still getting his shot whenever he wants.

  • Delon Wright literally starts walking on water and is proven to be Jesus.

 

Run for the hills if:

  • Beal starts bombing 3s.

  • John Wall is in full destroyer mode again.

  • The Raptors bench has an off night.

 

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • Beal gets going a bit but nothing crazy.

  • Wall has an incredible game.

  • Kyle Lowry hits 4 three-point shots.

  • Raptors win a nail-biter behind some clutch buckets from Lowry down the stretch.

  • Raptors 111 – Wizards 108.

 

 

What do you think? Can they continue to contain Beal? Can Lowry get going?