The Wizards play the Raptors in Game 5 of their playoff series Wednesday night.
Date and time: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario
TV/Streaming: NBC Sports Washington will have the game locally while NBA TV will have the game elsewhere in the United States. In Toronto and Canada overall, TSN1, 4, and 5 will have the game.
Injuries: For the Raptors, Fred VanVleet is questionable due to a shoulder injury. For the Wizards, Jodie Meeks is suspended.
Keys to the Game
Slow down DeRozan - Demar DeRozan is averaging 28 points a game in the series. If there’s a silver lining here, he has been streaky. But at the same time, slowing him down or forcing him to score in an inefficient matter will help make matters easier for Washington.
Can the Wizards overcome an emotional home crowd? On Monday, Toronto was the site of a massacre when 10 people were killed and 15 more were injured when a van drove into a sidewalk. The suspect was captured, but obviously, it’s a scary event.
And sports are just one of those things that bond people together. The Raptors had a franchise-best season and will enjoy homecourt advantage through at least the Eastern Conference Finals if they can help it.
So on Wednesday, if the Raptors’ crowd in the arena and nearby Jurassic Park were fired up for Games 1 and 2, they will be emotionally fired up in Game 6, not just to support the Raptors.
Like all too often in the United States and Western Europe, fans tomorrow night will be there as a sign of solidarity against acts of mass violence. I can’t say whether Monday’s incident was a terrorist attack, but things like that can certainly scare people from going out and enjoying their lives.
And to be honest, I want Raptors fans to come out tomorrow to the Air Canada Centre and Jurassic Park. The last thing I want to see is fans not going to support their team because they fear an incident like last Monday.
Ultimately, some team has to be the opponent against the Toronto Raptors tomorrow night. That team happens to be the Wizards, whom we all come to love and support. So, narrative may very well make the conditions bright for a Toronto victory.
The Wizards will have to come out early and quiet the crowd with a big lead. They did that in Game 1 and weren’t far off from stealing a victory. This time, they’ll have to dig deeper than they have all season to come away with a win before heading back to Washington this Friday for Game 6.