Now that we’ve seen a glimmer of what the series is going to look like, here’s some predictions for the rest of the series from a few of our staff.
Christian Jope: Toronto showed up in Game 1 against Washington. That’s for sure. With contributors across the line the strength of the Raps was fully showcased. Being able to go twelve deep takes a lot away from other teams and gives the Raptors opportunities that they wouldn’t be able to have with a 8-9 man rotation. Still, can you count on 3-4 shooting from three by Delon? A spirited performance from Bebe? Or CJ to stay hot from three? No, not really. They’ll have their streaks of poor performance for sure, especially with a switch heavy Wizards lineup. More success will be seen when Kyle and Demar can enforce their will from the get-go. Let’s see how the Wizards defence changes after a breakdown in Game 1 and how Beal and Wall respond after a poor team effort in crunch time. Raptors in 5.
Jared Goodman: Going into Game 1, every Raptor fan expected the worst. Now that the monkey is off the shoulder of the team, it’s time to buckle in and do what a 1 seed should in the first round. Win, and win handily. With Fred VanVleet expected back (edit: he’s listed as doubtful for Game 2), the Raps will gain an additional boost and not have to rely on a miraculous showing from Delon Wright. However, what the Raptors won’t be able to rely on is more shaky showings from Bradley Beal, who will definitely have a big game or two in this series. If the Raptors excel at one thing, it’s still making things tough on themselves, and that’s why I think that the Wizards steal a game or two over the course of the next two weeks. Raptors in 6.
Kahfeel Buchannon: The Raptors will beat the Wizards in six games. Everyone in Toronto wants a sweep but that probably won’t happen. John Wall and Bradley Beal will have a game or two where no one can guard them, probably in Washington. They’re both All-stars with playoff experience. The Raptors are a young team so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they dropped a game on the road. In the end their depth and three-point shooting will be too much for the Wizards to handle over seven games. We saw in game one that even without Fred VanVleet the Raptors are the deeper and overall more complete team. There’s no reason the Raptors should lose in the first round after how they played in the regular season. This series should be a dress rehearsal for the big showdown with Cleveland in the next round. Raptors in 6.
Myles Dichter: I know Game 1 was close, but it really felt as though the Raptors were in control from the loose ball foul at tipoff on Gortat through the end. The Raptors and Wizards both put together 80th percentile performances, with each balancing off nights from certain role players (Otto Porter Jr., Jakob Poeltl) with clutch performances from others (Markieff Morris, Mike Scott, Delon Wright, BEBE). At the top end, Kyle Lowry and John Wall were both very good, and DeMar DeRozan and Brad Beal were just okay. Long story short: all things equal, the Raptors are better. I said it before the series began, and there’s no reason to change tune now. Raptors in 5.