clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Wizards vs. Raptors Game 1 preview: Wizards try to set the pace in Toronto

The Wizards and Raptors open the playoff schedule Saturday afternoon. Can the Wizards find a way to steal homecourt advantage in Game 1?

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Where and when: The Washington Wizards take on the Toronto Raptors at 12:30 p.m at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

TV: You can watch the game on ESPN, CSN Washington, or TSN if you're in Canada.

Radio: 99.1 WNEW.

Injury report: Garrett Temple is out with an injured hamstring for the Wizards. The Raptors are healthy.

Three storylines for Game 1

1. Will Bradley Beal show off a new wrinkle in his game? After a year where some felt his game had plateaued, Bradley Beal showed he could reach a higher gear in last year's playoffs. In Game 1 against the Bulls last season, Beal had a disastrous shooting night (3-11 from the field) but overcame it with some of the best facilitating of his career, getting 7 assists and earning 7 free throws against the Bulls' stingy defense. In the games that followed, the shooting came along and we saw Bradley Beal take a big step in his development in the playoffs against the Bulls and Pacers.

Once again, we find ourselves at a place where the some feel like Bradley Beal is plateauing. If the Wizards have a shot at stealing home court advantage in Game 1, like they did last season, they need Beal to force the Raptors to guard someone off the dribble other than John Wall.

2. Who is going to guard Lou Williams? Williams averaged 19.7 points per game on 48.8 percent shooting in 26 minutes of action per game against the Wizards this season, and that was WITH Garrett Temple available to slow him down. The Wizards need to have a comprehensive scheme in place on how to slow Williams down, because the Wizards don't have an individual defender who has a good shot against Williams, save for John Wall, who is better served guarding Kyle Lowry or saving his energy for other side of the floor.

3. Which starting center gets more playing time in the fourth quarter? The Wizards and Raptors have both been known to go away from their starting centers, Marcin Gortat and Jonas Valanciunas, in the closing minutes. Will each team's trend of going smaller as the game goes along hold up in the playoffs, or will one team try to go against the grain and use size to force the other out of spacing the floor? Finding the right balance will be key to determining who comes out on top.