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)
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?