Toronto at Washington
Time: 7 PM CST
TV: ESPN 2
Spread: WAS -5
M/L: WAS -190; TOR +165
Betting odds c/o Bovada
The Washington Wizards got 54 points from its starting backcourt and took a 2-0 series lead with its 117-106 Game 2 win. NBA oddsmakers are affording more respect to the Wizards.
NBA live lines showed the Wiz as 5-point favorites over the Toronto Raptors. The total is set at just 195, despite game 2 producing 223 points between the teams. For an explanation of how to bet these odds, see our NBA odds explained.
It was stated in the preview of this series that the Wizards biggest issue would be stopping the Raptors on defense, but that has proven not to be so problematic. Troubling for Toronto is that the Wizards put five players in double-figure scoring and John Wall was able to carve up its defense at will. Wall went 12 of 21 from the floor and dished out 17 (!) assists while scoring 28 points. Beal was one of the main recipients of Wall’s brilliance and knocked down eight field goals and another 8 of 11 from the line, to put up 26 points.
Paul Pierce picked up right where he left off after a big game 2, scoring 16 points, while his backup Otto Porter came through with a huge game. Porter played 35 minutes and scored 15 points on eight field goals, while also snatching nine boards. The Wizards hadn’t really seen dividends from Porter who was the team’s lottery pick in 2013.
Many felt the Wizards struck out, but Porter was a team high plus-17 while on the court, showing that his impact runs deep when he is playing his best ball. The tandem combined to put the caps on Terrence Ross, who shot just six field goals to score nine points, while not getting a single board. DeMar DeRozan had a fairly big game, but his 20 points were overstated and he had a negative-9 differential, the worst of all Wizards starters.
The Raptors got major production off its bench from Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams (20 points) and Patrick Patterson/Amir Johnson. The Raps bench put up 56 points, more than its starting unit (50). The bench production is a boon, but the Raptors starters must play far better. All-Star Kyle Lowry had just six points and he saw just 27 minutes in the game with fouls being a problem and Greivis Vasquez being a more than adequate replacement off the bench. Vasquez shot just 2 of 7 from the floor, however, as Wall was able to dominate whichever guard was thrown at him defensively.
Superficially it could be said that slowing Wall is the key to the Raptors being able to get back in this series. The Wizards have shown a propensity to fritter away big leads, and that has to come into play sooner than later. The Wizards will now have the homecourt edge for the next two games, which could be monumental after stealing the first two on the road.
Toronto is in the unenviable task of needing to win both games 3 and 4 on the road to make this a series again. The Wizards have shown the toughness and grit, while the Raptors are still a shadow of whatever was going right early in the season. Toronto has been a team of ups and downs, but the downs have to come to its end tonight because a 0-3 deficit is a pure death sentence in historical terms. Toronto has been scoring the ball well, and if it can find an answer defensively tonight it could turn the series around. But it is never a good sign when the homecourt goes unprotected and the Wizards are sitting pretty with a 2-0 lead and two games on its homecourt.