We started this series pointing out how poetic it would be for the Raptors to get a revenge sweep. Unlike 2015, it’s the Wizards coming in discombobulated and underachieving; through two games, it looks like there’s nothing they can adjust except make more shots.
So it’s not entirely surprising that Washington coach Scott Brooks decided to hold steady with his starters for tonight’s Game 3, even though he alluded to going small earlier in the week.
Brooks said he is not altering his starting line-up or rotation for Game 3; says he wants to give his team a chance to play at home before making changes.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) April 20, 2018
The move would’ve been to replace Marcin Gortat with Mike Scott at centre, allowing Washington a hot hand at the start of the game.
For the Raptors, it’s mostly the same story. Fred VanVleet, after dressing and playing a discomforting three minutes in Game 2, will not play in tonight’s Game 3. We haven’t had much of a timeline to work with on Fred’s return, although it seems like it continues to move in a promising direction.
Raptors are holding out Fred VanVleet in Game 3 to give his shoulder more time, says Casey.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) April 20, 2018
Still, the Raptors have been winning, and winning comfortably through 96 minutes of this series — VanVleet or not. The story tonight will be what Washington does to adjust, if anything, and whether they can get John Wall and Bradley Beal going at the same time. Beal has been awful on both ends in this series, and while Brooks has blamed himself for under-utilizing his All-Star shooting guard, part of it is on Beal’s effort too.
Scott Brooks met with John Wall and Bradley Beal yesterday. Beal said his coach challenged him to be more aggressive, also apologized for not drawing up more plays for him.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) April 20, 2018
So what’ll it be? A stranglehold for the Raptors heading into Sunday’s Game 4, with a revenge sweep still on the table? Or will Toronto have to sweat out a weekend-ender, hoping that the face of this series doesn’t change before it heads back to Toronto?
You can read the full game preview to assess for yourself, written by Jacob Mack this morning. You can also get a better idea of Washington’s remaining adjustments (or lack thereof) in Sean Woodley’s feature.
Finally, myself and Jon Turco are doing an HQ Overtime podcast post-game — send us your questions on Twitter (links in the author line) throughout the evening.
Here’s the game details. Let’s basketball.
Where to Watch
Canada: TSN 1/4/5,
United States: ESPN
8 PM ET
Washington — John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas
Washington — Jodie Meeks (suspension)
Toronto - Fred VanVleet (OUT - shoulder bruise)