NBA Playoffs Preview - Round 1 - Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards Betting Odds
The Wizards came into the season as a team on the rise after last year’s successful playoff run and the acquisition of veteran Paul Pierce. But the Raptors had success of their own last season and built on it while the Wizards have looked like a disaster at times. The Raptors took the season series 3-0.
POINT GUARD - John Wall vs. Kyle Lowry
This great matchup between two great young point guards. Wall has really developed into one of the best players in the league. His shooting, which was once his biggest weakness is now his strength and that is a credit to his hard work. Lowry has worked to make himself into a true point guard and has improved in every aspect of his game over recent years. He battled injuries this season but seems to have gotten healthy at the right time.
ADVANTAGE – WashingtonShooting Guard - Bradley Beal vs. Demar Derozan
Beal had yet another season in which he showed his tremendous upside and smooth outside shot yet still succumbed to injuries and a lack of improvement in other aspects of his game. At this point he is basically just a jump shooter. Derozan is playing at a high level and averaged 20 points per game. He is more of a flasher than a shooter and is capable of carrying his team for stretches.
ADVANTAGE- TorontoSmall Forward - Terrence Ross vs. Paul Pierce
Ross is a sold defender who will likely be assigned to Pierce or even Wall at times. Pierce is not the player he once was and seems to talk more than he actually performs on the court. He was brought in to provide veteran leadership and the team did not appear to be any more together or organized than they were last season. He has lost a step but is still able to get his shot off and will likely get the call should a last second shot chance present itself.
Power Forward- Amir Johnson vs. Nene
Nene has been surprisingly healthy this season and can be counted on for scoring but not much else. His rebounding has been effected by injuries over the years as has his defense due to a lack of foot speed. Johnson is a good all around player who has had some big games this season. If given enough touches he has shown the ability to score as well as create second chance points.
ADVANTAGE – EvenCenter- Jonas Valanciunas vs. Marcin Gortat
Valanciunas is a tough cover in the post with his size and great hands. He like to move from block to block and creates a difficult matchup for whoever is defending him. Gortat had a subpar year for him and has the ability to score and run the floor with any center in the league.
Toronto has hard working role players like Patrick Patterson and Grevis Vasquez off the bench as well as Lou Williams who will likely be on the court in crunch time. The Wizards have veteran Kris Humphries who is still an elite rebounder but doesn’t provide much else.