- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Wizards‘ Game 1 win in Toronto is a step, but no series-winning guarantee. Teams that win Game 1 on the road are 68-56 (.548) all time. They also lose Game 2 almost all the time: 9-95 (.234).

Washington will have around 72 hours between when it landed back in D.C. on Saturday night and the 8 p.m. start of Game 2 in Toronto on Tuesday. The Wizards flew back right after Saturday’s game and will be home for practice, film watching and treatment prior to flying back to Toronto on Monday night.

Before Game 2, we’ll look back at Game 1 with our first installment of three points:

1. Both teams leave Air Canada Center expecting to be better offensively in Game 2. The shooting numbers were sinful: Bradley Beal and John Wall combined to shoot 11 for 41 (26.8 percent). DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined to go 8 for 30 (26.7 percent). “It wasn’t the most masterful offensive display,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. Lou Williams, Toronto’s bench scoring threat, was 4 for 16. Terrence Ross was 3 for 11 and missed all six of his 3-point attempts. Neither team scored 30 points in a quarter. Toronto was even worse in overtime when it made just two field goals and shot 22.9 percent. The Wizards often trapped DeRozan and Williams off screens, happily providing opportunities to Amir Johnson. Johnson scored 18 points, but the Wizards will trade locking down DeRozan and Williams for anything Johnson does offensively.

2. Seraphin in, Humphries out. Seeing Kevin Seraphin enter the game with 2:45 to play in the first quarter was surprising. It was anticipated Seraphin’s minutes would be minimal against Toronto, if he played at all, because of their perimeter-oriented team. The Wizards had success with Drew Gooden and Paul Pierce at power forward when playing a smaller lineup. That left Nene and Marcin Gortat as the lone big men rotating with the smaller group. Yet, there was Seraphin in the first quarter after Gortat was called for two early fouls (Drew Gooden has entered prior for Gortat, so Seraphin rotated out Nene). Humphries, who missed almost a month because of a strained groin, was healthy and available, Wittman said. Here’s how Wittman explained having Seraphin — who was effective and scored 10 points, had five rebounds, a nice drop-off pass for a Gooden dunk and solid help defense in his 16:32 — in and Humphries out: “Can’t play them all. I talked to (Humphries) and he’s got to be ready. Kevin, I thought was ready. Again, you go into a game with kind of a gameplan of how you might want to play it and it got thrown out the window the first quarter. (Gortat) got a couple of quick fouls, so we went on the fly a little bit and that’s what happens. Everything’s not going to be choreographed the way you want it to. I thought Kevin came in and gave us a big lift. Drew playing hard. It might be Hump’s time next game.” For his part, Humphries was unfazed. He said he’s healthy, was happy they won, and that he’ll be ready whenever Wittman decides to put him in.

3. The Wizards’ rebounding was dominant and could decide the series. Raptors coach Dwane Casey mentioned before the game how important it would be for Toronto to be competitive in rebounding with the Wizards. Prior to the series, Washington’s ability to rebound was one of the few clear advantages for either side. Saturday, the Wizards had 61 rebounds and 19 offensive rebounds. When bad shooting is pervasive, like it was Saturday, rebounding value only increases. Toronto lamented the rebounding problem after being outrebounded by 13. “They had 20 second-chance points,” Casey said. “That’s the game. We’ve talked about it. It’s not just our big guys, it’s everybody. We start watching when a shot goes up and we have to get in and clean up the boards. We know that. … Until we make it a priority, it’s going to be hard for us.” Tyler Hansbrough started at power forward for the Raptors. He had zero rebounds in 12:33 on the floor. He’s a bad matchup for Nene or Pierce and someone whose role in this series Casey will have to address.

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