For the first time in this series between the Wizards and Raptors, both teams are dealing with a short turnaround. Just a day (today!) sits between Friday’s Game 3 and Sunday’s Game 4, so Washington and Toronto both get an abbreviated practice and nothing else in preparation.
For the Raptors, it’s an opportunity to make some adjustments. The Wizards played with a lot more effort in their 122-103 win in Game 3, and Toronto has to make sure they run their offence through physicality a lot better on Sunday night.
After practice, that was the main message coming from coaches and players. Most quotable was Kyle Lowry, who repeated his mantra coming into the series, when he said that the Raptors had to treat Game 1 “like a Game 7”. Turns out they’ll have to treat Game 4 the same way.
Looking back at Game 3, Dwane Casey was firmly pressing the “don’t panic” button. Many of his comments reflect that, whether it was believing the struggling bench would turn it around (“We’re not going to turn on them now”) or saying that the cream rises to the top in a playoff series (“We are where we are for a reason”). So... don’t panic!
We also heard from a couple members of that bench mob, as Jakob Poeltl and C.J. Miles addressed the media together. They talked about the differences between the regular season and the playoffs, and whether that’s played into their struggles.
Tomorrow, the Raptors will go without a shootaround due to the early game start (6 PM ET), so we should see a pretty fresh team trying to get back to running their stuff. It’s now turned into a very important game in the series — win and you get a chance to clinch at home, where the Wizards have played poorly all year; lose and this becomes just another long, difficult playoff series for a Raptors franchise with plenty in their history.