Washington at Toronto – Game 5
Time: 6 PM CT (NBA TV)
Spread: TOR -7.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Washington Wizards might not be considered in the realm of true contenders, but the pesky Wiz won both its home contest to even the series 2-2 as it shifts back to Toronto for a swing game 5. The Raptors are 7.5-point favorites at the Air Canada Centre, and tipoff is at 6 PM (CT) on NBA TV. The over/under is set at 215.5 points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
While this writer has perpetually disrespected the Wizards for being mediocre, the team did take care of business in DC. Washington won Games 3 & 4 by an average of 13.5 points, showing that in its own venue it has few problems getting rolling. Games 1 & 2 were just as decisive for the Raps, though, showing why oddsmakers are not hesitant in setting the line so heavily in Toronto’s favor even after consecutive losses.
The difference in Game 4 was large that Bradley Beal really got going. Beal connected on 10 of 19 including 5 of 7 from three, and John Wall chipped in another 27 as they combined for half of Washington’s 106 points total. Wall also had 14 assists, six rebounds, and four steals, and finished +9 for his 43 minutes of court time. Once again, the Wiz bench contributed close to nothing, with only Kelly Oubre Jr. reaching double figures, but it was not quite the handicap it had been in the road games as all Wiz starters except Marcus Morris scored in double-figures.
The starters shot a combined 33 of 66 (50 percent) from the field, while the Wizards bench was good for 6 of 19 from the field. The disparity is nothing new, but we have to figure that eventually spells the downfall of Washington. The wear and tear on its starters is going to show up sooner or later, and Washington has continually struggled in the second and third quarters, where it was unusually good (at least in the third) in game 3. The Wizards did only manage 18 second-quarter points, but its defense was on point and Raptors turnovers led to “only” being outscored by three points in the quarter.
Raptors 2-guard DeMar DeRozan has been highly aggressive in trying to make up the slack for some hesitant teammates. He attempted 29 field goals in Game 3 but hit just 10. DeRozan did attempt 18 (!) free throws, however, and finished with a game-high 35 points. Between DeRozan and Lowry, the Raptors are hoping its All-Star backcourt shows up at home to win a crucial Game 5, as the victor of this game is the likely series winner.
Jonas Valanciunas has been limited in this series and played just 15 minutes in Game 3, while the Wizards played its starting-5 Marcin Gortat just 28, as well. Smaller, quicker lineups has been an emphasis in this series, and Raptors backup center Jakob Poeltl is finally starting to step up too, as he finished with 10 points and seven boards in 24 minutes while posting a +3 for his 24 minutes of court time. Given that Valanciunas was -5 for 15 minutes, we might see more of Poeltl, and he might even end up being the starter by some point next season.
For now, we expect the Raptors depth to factor in heavy and barring another standout game by Beal, Washington falls as oddsmakers expect in game 5. The Wizards are wholly out-matched in this series, and the fact that it has managed to even it up 2-2 has caught us fully by surprise. Wall and Beal are a dynamic backcourt but Washington is out-matched nearly everywhere else on the court.