He will have much to discuss now.
A win on Friday night would have essentially closed the series, but even with a loss, Toronto is still in the driver's seat after two games.
Toronto led by as many as nine in the first half, but couldn't hold the lead against the hot-shooting Wizards. If it is true, as they have occasionally said, that they like being doubted, this was a game that will rekindle some of those feelings.
The prolific offense of Toronto (third in the National Basketball Association with an offensive efficiency of 111.8) will go head-to-head against the mid-tier defense of Washington (15th in the National Basketball Association with a defensive efficiency of 107.1). Each of them had 28 points. The Raptors as a team finished with 18 in a very poor performance.
VanVleet missed Game 1, and was active for Game 2 (both Raptors wins at home) but played just three minutes. Dwayne Casey rested him becaus ethe Raptors were playing well without him and he did not want to risk VanVleet getting hurt again. A series of turnovers led to easy Wizards baskets and they closed the first quarter on a 12-2 run to take a one-point lead. Meanwhile, the Wizards are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games, 1-6 ATS in their last seven Sunday games and 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games overall. A Mike Scott corner three, then a Beal three-pointer from deep, gave Washington a 56-45 lead and had the formerly disgruntled crowd on its feet.
The Wizards are 40-22 when they reach 100 points, while the Raptors are 55-15.
It was an exoneration of sorts for the lineup choice of Wizards coach Scott Brooks, who had hinted at shuffling his starters after going down into an 0-2 hole but ultimately stuck with the same unit at the opening tip. In Game 3, Oubre and others made sure to disrupt Miles's rhythm.
According to The Score, when Jonas Valenciunas was asked about the bond and communication between the players on and off the court, he mentioned that "Kyle, DeMar and I have been here for six/seven years.Knowing each other's games is our advantage". Both guards will have to get their teammates involved because odds are they're both not going to be on in the next few games.
The Raptors rank sixth in assists per game (24.3) while the Wizards rank 11th in assists allowed per game (22.4). After Lowry swiped at Beal's head while the latter attempted a breakaway layup, the first-time All-Star immediately charged toward official Gary Zielinski and had to be pushed back by crew chief Ken Mauer. "Fred's the type of guy, he's always making plays for us when things get a little stagnant". Washington exploded with by far their best offensive game of the series, and came away with a 19-point win in what was an extremely physical and chippy game.
Casey said the bigger problem was on defence.
"We knew what they were going to do". It was succinct, and correct, analysis. We came out tonight with an edge about ourselves. "They fed off that", DeRozan said.
While DeRozan and Lowry led the Raptors in scoring again on Friday night, Game 3 was a vivid reminder that the Wizards, who swept the Raptors in the first round three seasons ago, have some elite scorers of their own. The Wizards have won 7 straight home games in the post-season though, and have clearly shown the ability to fight through adversity and win on their home floor. They have bounced back from some stinkers before, against IN and Miami two years ago, and Milwaukee last year.