Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards - 4/17/18 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

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Kyle Lowry, who was battling a virus and coughed throughout the post-game press conference, finished with 11 points and nine assists for the Raptors.

After setting an all-time best in wins with 59 wins (a missed Delon Wright three-pointer from reaching the 60 mark), the Toronto Raptors look to continue their goal of establishing new franchise firsts.

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

Entering Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal on Tuesday, Wright expects the Wizards to adjust how they address a Raptors' second unit that helped decide Game 1.

"They are the No. 1 seed for a reason".

The Washington Wizards aren't your typical 8-seed either. Lowry played more minutes than usual and was at point guard early in the fourth with several substitutes for the Raptors' push. He does have the advantage of his returning point guard in two ways: Gortat is effective in the pick and roll with his veteran ability to read a defense, and, with the spotlight on Wall's return, the defense may be more keyed on stopping him rather than clogging the paint. The Raptors had a much better turnover percentage (7.1 vs. 16.2) and had a better free throw rate (0.256 vs. 0.177).

All hope is not lost for Washington, though, as they went 2-2 against Toronto in the regular season, despite the absence of star point guard John Wall. Miles finished with 12 points, and Wright added 18 points, 11 coming in the decisive fourth quarter.

And things didn't immediately improve once the game got rolling. We love it and we try to give them plays and allow them to be a factor, too. "That shows what kind of evolution they've made as a team".

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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.

The Raptors opened as 8.5-point favorites; the total is at 210.5, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.

A number-one seed beating an eighth seed in a playoff series' opening game isn't always headline-worthy, but it is when the one seed in question is the Toronto Raptors.

The Canadian outfit boasts the deepest rotation in professional basketball with several bench players who provide starter-level production; in fact, the second unit have outscored their opponents by nearly twenty-five points per hundred possessions.

Toronto led the league in a couple of bench categories this season - including plus/minus - and those players had an impact on the Wiz the same way they did many other opponents this season. "Their starters play a little slower and the bench comes in and plays a little faster". They would take steps to make sure they weren't losing Raptors shooters in transition.

On Saturday night, however, the Raptors sent a strong initial message about who they are.

"We're playing the best team in the East", reiterated Washington coach Scott Brookes. "We know what works for us, what got us here, and what's going to take us even further".

It wasn't the team that the Raptors might have picked to face in the first round.