Raptors overcome ominous start, buck Game 1 curse to fend off Wizards

Raptors overcome ominous start, buck Game 1 curse to fend off Wizards

After 10 consecutive Game 1 losses, the Raptors won the first battle of their campaign, a 114-106 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Lowry had 11 points and nine assists, and DeMar DeRozan finished with 17 points for Toronto. The Raptors won a record 59 games, topping their previous best of 56. The score evenly matched the eight-point spread, and the game went over the total of 211 points.

Under that setup, Casey said, the team's complimentary players are just as important as its all-stars. Do they abandon the traps in favor of taking away the supporting cast, and force DeRozan and Lowry to beat them against single coverage, or do they keep challenging the Raptors role players?

"They did a good job of making plays", Casey told reporters.

If you paid attention to the Raptors in the regular season (or read this story), you know all about their "culture reset" and offensive transformation: Despite finishing sixth in offensive rating last season, they installed a completely new system in training camp, one which required their primary scorers to sacrifice touches, empower their teammates and move without the ball.

"Their bench was great", Wizards point guard John Wall said, per Candace Buckner and Ava Wallace of The Washington Post.

JJ Redick scored 28 points and Marco Belinelli added 25, while rookie Ben Simmons nearly grabbed a triple-double with 17 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds. He hounded Bradley Beal one-on-one midway through the third quarter, inducing an ill-advised drive and shot to the basket, then 15 seconds later on the following possession planted himself in Wall's path on the edge of the paint to draw a charge.

Klay Thompson sank 27 points, while Kevin Durant finished with 24, as the Warriors displayed a timely return to form.

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And while the Raptors didn't dress backup point guard Fred VanVleet, who sat out with a sore shoulder, they still managed to wear down the Wizards with their depth.

Per usual, the Raptors bench came to play, outscoring Washington's 42-21. "We know what works for us, what got us here, and what's going to take us even further".

Raptors: Lowry played despite flu-like symptoms. In the other, Drake opens his shirt to reveal a Wizards jersey, alongside the words "If You're Reading This, the Wizards Just Swept", a play on one of the rapper's album titles.

"Now complaining about No. 1 seed, No. 2 seed, talking about those things instead of: Are we just going to make the playoffs?" the coach said. "When people's moments came, people were ready to step up".

"Our Game 1 is our Game 7", said Kyle Lowry before the game, per Lori Ewing of The Canadian Press.

"We had the No. 1 bench plus-minus in the league, one of the best producing benches in the league, and that's who are. and we'll stick to that".

Raptors big man Jonas Valanciunas was a part of that short-lived playoff series.