GAME 5: WIZARDS (2-2) AT RAPTORS (2-2)
April 25, 2018 at 7:00 PM
Air Canada Centre | Toronto, ON
TV: NBA TV, NBCSW
Radio: 1500 AM
Odds: TOR -7.0
WHAT TO WATCH:
Continuing The Momentum
The Wizards entered Game 3 with their backs against the wall. With a dominant win in that game and a second-half comeback in Game 4, the Raptors are now the ones under the pressure. The Wizards have some confidence, but they need to keep their foot on the gas pedal.
With the Raptors needing to win to preserve homecourt advantage, they will certainly come out swinging. With all their past playoff woes, Kyle Lowry told the media prior to the series that Game 1 is their Game 7. It is likely the Raptors will treat Game 5 like a Game 7 as 83 percent of Game 5 winners in a 2-2 series go on to win so the Wizards need to be ready.
Wizards vs. Jurassic Park
If Washington wants to shock the world, then they need to take care of business on the road. We have seen how they play when they are in their element inside “The Vault”, but they have struggled when they are on the road. Over the last two playoff runs the Wizards are a combined 1-8 on the road with the sole win coming in Game 6 of the first round last season against the Hawks which sent them to the second round. Washington has dropped six playoff games in a row on the road since then.
Toronto is going to be revved up tomorrow night not just inside the arena but outside the arena as well. It will be a big sports night for them as not only do their Raptors play a home Game 5, but their hockey team, the Maple Leafs, will take on the Bruins in Game 7. Outside the Air Canada Centre, Jurassic Park and Maple Leaf square will be incredibly lit as both fan bases will gather to cheer on their home teams.
The Wizards need to start strong to take the crowd out of the game. If they do that, then there is a good chance that the only thing Toronto natives will be happy about is their hockey team taking care of business. If the Wizards show energy and no signs of intimidation from being in The North, they can take Game 5 and get an opportunity to close out the series on Friday night in The District.
When “Wolf Season” mode is activated, it becomes a scary sight for the opposition. Wall is the Wizards. Their success is mostly determined by his play on the court. Maybe the climax of #WolfSzn has been reserved for the playoffs. Over the last four games, Wall has averaged 26.8 points, 13.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.0 block per game. This is the John Wall that Wizards fans know and love.
Wall is just the third player in NBA history to tally at least 100 points and 50 assists through the first four games of a playoff series. Only Magic Johnson and Johnny Moore have accomplished this feat. Wall and Magic are the only two players in NBA history to have at least 27 points, 14 assists, and six rebounds in two straight playoff games as Wall had 28 points, 14 assists and seven boards in Game 3 and 27 points, 14 assists, and six rebounds in Game 4. After Bradley Beal fouled out with five minutes remaining in Game 4, Wall took over and helped lead the Wizards to the win.
That’s not all though as Wall leads the NBA this postseason in most points created per game with 57.0. That is ahead of the likes of LeBron James (52.3), James Harden (45.3), Russell Westbrook (45.0) and Ben Simmons (43.5).
What is better than winning a playoff road game? Winning a playoff road game when a courtside super fan is heckling you! Ask Reggie Miller about that when Spike Lee was taunting him at The Garden.
Maybe Kelly Oubre Jr. will be the Wizards’ Reggie Miller in Game 5. After all, Drake did call him a bum in Game 2. #Shhh
In a playoff series, momentum can swing one way or another. It started out with the Raptors and it looked like they were going to run away with the series after the first two games. In Games 3 and 4 in DC, the Wizards took the momentum right back and now it is on their side. I predict the Wizards will take command in Game 5 and this series will come back to DC with the Wizards ahead 3-2.
The other tenants of Capital One Arena, the Capitals, also started their first-round series down 0-2 but in an even worse scenario as both of those losses came at home. They bounced back and won their next four games. There is no reason the Wizards cannot do just that, too.