Friday, in the Raptors' biggest game so far this season - and on the road - the Toronto Raptors coach and his "bench mob" answered with an emphatic yes. He seems to be locked in - ready to face whoever team moves up.
Raptors point guard Fred Van Vleet, who anchored Toronto's league-best bench unit all season, has been limited to a mere three minutes in the series due to a shoulder injury. Let us count the ways.
Toronto rebounded after losing Games 3 and 4 in Washington to take a 3-2 series lead back to Washington for Game 6 on Friday night. In the words of Woody Harrelson, "Kelly, Kelly, Kelly..." Wall and Beal scored 30 of the Wizards' 39 second half points. They went almost four minutes without scoring down the stretch. We could have had four Game 7s this weekend, but instead we'll have only two.
If the Raptors do everything DeRozan mentioned down the stretch like Wednesday, they will avoid a Game 7 at home on Sunday, something they were able to do last season. He missed the shot, and he sprinted down the other end of the floor to commit an ill-advised foul on Kyle Lowry.
Oubre replaces Otto Porter in the starting five after Porter was ruled out for the remainder of the series after undergoing a leg procedure. Even if he's taking a parting shot at the Wizards in the first place.
"He didn't shoot the ball, he's been struggling from the 3 for awhile now". Satoransky never really had a chance to get involved, playing just 60 minutes in the series. A couple of shots didn't go his way.... "It was just one of those things where I was trying to be kind of unselfish and make an extra pass".
Lawson is hardly the only player who went from not having a spot on an National Basketball Association roster to getting some run, and maybe even filling a key role, during these playoffs. Toronto is 1-7-1 ATS in its last nine games played on one day of rest. VanVleet scored just five points on 2-of-7 shooting but he added four rebounds and four assists and the Raptors were +12 in the 18 minutes he was on the court.
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So now they wait to see who they play.
"I want to play every minute, but at times you need breaks", Wall said.
John Wall praised Bradley Beal for having an "MVP-type season" and said that the Washington Wizards duo will "just keep getting better" during the summer for next season.
One of the biggest surprises for the Toronto Raptors this season was the impact and utter dominance of their bench in the regular season.
Through the first three quarters, Washington seemed the hungrier team in a back-and-forth battle that saw neither team lead by double digits.
Kyle Lowry led the way with 24 points, while DeMar DeRozan added 16 and Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points along with 14 rebounds. It was Beal's 18th career postseason game with 25 or more points. Lowry and DeRozan were instrumental in their team's fourth quarter performance, but it was the bench-anchored by VanVleet-that did the heavy lifting. That is the difference. He is kind of the engine, the toughness. "They're too that", Casey said after the game (via ESPN). But once the playoffs started, Brooks leaned heavily on the newly signed Ty Lawson to run the team. Both the Pacers and the Cavaliers are capable teams.