It’s still a weird sensation, having the Raptors prepare for a Game 2 already up 1-0 in a series. Usually, with three days off between games like we’ve had this week, there’d be plenty of time for panic, discussing adjustments, and existential crisis over the state of the team. Now, the Raptors will have to deal with the other side of the spectrum: not getting too over-confident.
That was the mantra of today’s media availability after the Raptors’ shootaround. Tonight’s Game 2 will be an opportunity for Toronto to hold home court with a win, as the series shifts to Washington Friday night. Coach Dwane Casey discussed the intensity and desperation that he hopes his team comes out with, just as they would if they were down 0-1 (which... yes, is a situation they know well).
Casey didn’t give an overt status update for Fred VanVleet, who missed Game 1 with a right shoulder bruise. NBA TV’s Jared Greenberg reports, though, that VanVleet has been downgraded from questionable to doubtful.
This may mean more of the same for the Raptors’ rotation, who leaned heavily on Kyle Lowry and Delon Wright in the second half of Game 1 to get them a win. Norman Powell was ineffective in his minutes, and it may be tough sledding for him to get back out there in Game 2.
For their part, the Raptors’ players seem to know there will be adjustments coming from Washington. DeMar DeRozan talked about it being a “chess match” in his interview.
Jonas Valanciunas simplified the idea, saying that the mindset is to win — knowing the opponent makes it easier to adjust from game-to-game and Toronto will expect small changes.
On the Washington side, a lot of talk was about the officiating and lack of foul calls on John Wall and Bradley Beal drives to the hoop. This comes with the territory, but Game 1 was notable for missed calls on both sides (the most aggregious coming on a late no-call for basket interference on Marcin Gortat).
Both Wall and Beal were critical of the Game 1 officiating this morning. Nothing says playoff time quite like publicly campaigning for calls - a springtime tradition like no other. "When I got to the basket at times I feel like I got fouled"- Wall.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) April 17, 2018
The Wizards will play the game and look for more trips to the line. We’ll see if any of that gamesmanship will affect Game 2 tonight.