Bench does it again as Raptors shake Game 1 jinx

NBA Playoffs 2018: Predictions, Picks for Wizards vs. Raptors

The Toronto Raptors ended their 10-game losing streak in Game 1 of playoffs openers when they handled their business on Saturday afternoon and beat the Washington Wizards, the Air Canada Centre.

Whatever demons that have followed the Toronto Raptors during Game 1s throughout their franchise's history, they've finally quieted them.

National Basketball Association betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 110.2-93.6, Raptors.

The Raptors have been playing much better lately, winning four of five heading into the postseason (3-1-1 ATS), and there is a reason they earned the top seed in the East. "He's one of the best, if not the best big-man shooter in the league".

Bradley Beal contributed 19 points, Mike Scott had 14 off the bench and Marcin Gortat finished with 12 for Washington, which shot nearly 48-percent and had a 59-55 lead at halftime.

Gortat wanted to see some videotape before saying much else. Toss in one from Pascal Siakam and C.J. Miles not having one of those games? He assisted on all three of Ibaka's long-range makes and one of O.G. Anunoby's, too. All the more impressive that they did this without VanVleet, who makes the bench that much more unsafe for Toronto, and brings another weapon that they can use in clutch minutes. One of those three guys we can use in that position. "Some guys can just flat out shoot and they don't put the ball on the floor as well". We can't make those mistakes.

When it was over, it was Wizards coach Scott Brooks who was answering questions about how to slow down the potent Toronto offence. Bradley Beal is averaging 19 points and two rebounds while John Wall is averaging 23 points and 15 assists.

DeRozan scored 12 points in the quarter as the Raptors took a slim 86-85 lead into the fourth. "It's definitely a pick your poison, but we just have to do it better", Brooks said. "When he doesn't focus on defense, that's when I get frustrated because you don't want to be known as the guy who has potential to guard".

Ah, but move on to what, exactly? And cue urgency from the Raptors, who came out firing from halftime, getting quick 3-pointers from Lowry, DeRozan and Serge Ibaka in the first three minutes of the second half as if to say, "not this time". "They played well (and) made some big shots for them, and that's what they're going to do every game". The miss was, effectively, the end of the night.

The Philadelphia 76ers crushed the Miami Heat 130-103 after outscoring them by 31 points during the second half.

The Raptors still remember getting swept out of the first round by the Wizards in 2015. "A lot of times we find a way to win ugly".

Said Scott: "I thought we did it to ourselves". Turnovers and threes. That was about it. "We had them and give credit to them ... but we should have won that". Not sure at all. Oubre said professionalism was the No. 1 priority, then Brooks shared a characteristic, and the two went back and forth until they had created a long list that eventually drilled home the goal of the game: defense over nearly everything else.

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