Serge Ibaka scored 23 points and had 12 rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan added 17 points and six assists, and the Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 114-106 in Saturday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs. But even with home court advantage over the No. 8 Washington Wizards, the Raptors on Saturday evening will look to make history of sorts.
It is the first time the Raptors have won a playoff opener since 2001. But will this series be a clean four-game sweep or could the Wizard's give the top-seed Raptors some problems?
Washington star point guard John Wall, who missed half the season with a knee injury and had not faced the Raptors in any of their four regular season meetings, put up 21 points and 15 assists. Kyle Lowry, who was battling a virus and coughed throughout the post-game press conference, finished with 11 points and nine assists for the Raptors.
The Raptors jumped out to a fast start, getting big production from Jonas Valanciunas and rookie O.G. Anunoby in his playoff debut - a youngster also tasked with defending Beal.
"That sequence [after the flagrant] was big for us to get the lead back and get a little momentum, a little push", said Lowry. VanVleet was injured in Wednesday's regular season finale. However, they suffered 10 consecutive Game-One losses in the first round. "They are a No. 1 seed for a reason, they have a lot of good players". "It's the same role they played all year. but as long as those guys are producing the way they are, why should we change our rotation?"
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Jakob Poeltl's alley-oop midway through the second made it an eight-point Raptors lead, but a 13-0 Wizards run gave the visitors a five-point lead.
Anunoby made his first two 3-pointers and led Toronto with eight points in the first as the Raptors led 28-23 after one.
The Wizards led 59-55 at halftime.
Game 2 is Tuesday in Toronto then the series heads to Washington for Game 3.
DeRozan scored 12 points in the quarter as the Raptors took a slim 86-85 lead into the fourth.