By: Aaron Greenberg
Game one of the 1. vs. 8. series in the East was about what I expected, from watching the Wizards and Raptors play both in the regular season and the postseason in recent years. The Raptors came out hot in the first quarter in front of their home fans. Then as the rotations started to come and the adrenaline ran out, the Wizards played as they usually do in the playoffs; strong, fast and resilient. With the Raptors coming out the victor in game one it is time for the Wizards to look at what they did, what worked and what didn’t. Here are a few suggestions I have that will help the Wizards not only steal game two in Toronto but pull the upset and win the series.
First, it's time for the Wizards to bench Marcin Gortat. Gortat is foul machine, he's not athletic and he doesn’t play well on either side of the ball. He slows down the game for the Wizards who are otherwise a fast, athletic team that can get up and down the court in a hurry and make other teams uncomfortable on both sides of the ball. Gortat shoots the ball around 52% which is awful for a player who hardly ever sets foot outside the lane. And his Value Over Replacement Player rating is a 1.2 meaning his WAR rating is just 3.24. His time getting serious minutes for this team, should be up.
My next suggestion is to go small. With Gortat off the court a starting five of Wall, Beal, Scott, Porter and Morris would seem to compliment the Wizards ideal play style. Scott although undersized is long and physical enough to guard Serge Ibaka who seemingly lives on the perimeter these days. Meanwhile Morris can be physical enough to make life hard for big man Jonas Valanciunas. Scott's athleticism will allow them to still rebound well and breakout to get down the court faster, he was a massive difference maker in game one. This small lineup has worked for the Wizards not only in the regular season but in last few years in the playoffs. Especially with Oubre coming off the bench, to lead the second unit for Washington with Satoransky and Mahinmi. If the Wizards are going to win they're going to need to do what they do best and that's using their speed and athleticism to make other teams uncomfortable.
If the Wizards do these two things they can make this series incredibly difficult for the Raptors, so difficult that they can win. Sending the Raptors into the despair of playoffs past.
You can watch Game 2 on NBA TV Tomorrow at 7 PM
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