Serge Ibaka posted 23 points and 12 rebounds and DeMar DeRozan added 17 points as the Toronto Raptors held off the Washington Wizards 114-106 in Game 1 of their first-round NBA postseason series at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday.
Markieff Morris had 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the Wizards, while John Wall registered a double-double in the first half en route to 23 points, 15 assists and four steals.
The game assumed a breakneck pace, as both teams ran up and down the floor and took most of their field goals well before the shot clock expired.
That flow fell right into Wall’s wheelhouse, as it was clear early he would be a problem for the Raptors. He finished the first half with 13 points and 10 assists, which helped the Wizards earn a 59-55 halftime lead.
Wall, who missed 41 games this season, most due to a knee injury, and returned to the court March 31, looked like his old self:
John Wall was dishing in the 1st half, dropping 10 dimes to go along with a team-high 13 PTS! #DCFamily https://t.co/I6Pr6CveEy
On the flip side, the former Kentucky star struggled inside the three-point arc, as he connected on just three of 15 shots there. He made as many three-pointers as he did two-pointers en route to a 6-of-20 performance. Still, Wall did far more good, as he also accrued four steals and two blocks.
The difference in the game was Toronto’s hot shooting from beyond the arc: The Raptors made 16 of 30 three-pointers (53.3 percent), led by C.J. Miles and his four treys. Ibaka and Delon Wright each hit three. On the other hand, the Wizards made just eight of their 21 shots from deep.
Wright’s three-pointers were particularly clutch. With the Raptors down 96-95 with 8:39 remaining in the game, the backup guard took over, scoring eight of his team’s 14 points on a 14-1 run to put it up 109-97 with 3:31 left. This three-pointer following a pump fake capped the streak:
Pump fake, side step, let it fly! 👍👍👍
10 PTS for Delon Wright in the 4th.
#WeTheNorth @ESPNNBA https://t.co/Z467MeAHf7
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer commented on Wright’s development:
Delon Wright was a joy to watch in college because of his defense and passing, but his shot was so shaky. The Raptors player development staff deserves a lot of credit for making Wright an effective spot-up shooter.
And Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network noted Wright hadn’t participated in the playoffs much prior to his big game:
Delon Wright, who had played 17 postseason minutes coming into tonight, has 17 Game 1 points.
Wright, who assumed more playing time with backup guard Fred VanVleet out with shoulder soreness, posted 18 points, four assists and three steals in 25 minutes.
The Wizards knocked the lead down to seven points after a Morris and-1 layup with 56.6 seconds left, but the Raptors hit some late free throws to seal the win.
Elsewhere on the stat sheet, Bradley Beal scored 19 points for the Wizards, while Mike Scott had 14 off the bench. Miles and OG Anunoby both scored 12 for Toronto, while point guard Kyle Lowry had 11 points and nine assists.
The teams will play Game 2 Tuesday at 7 p.m ET in Toronto. NBATV will televise the contest.
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