How Raptors killed their playoff demons and proved their new look works in Game 1 vs. Wizards

At halftime, the takes came flying in: Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan can’t get their act together in the playoffs. The Playoff Raptors are back. It is a Game 1, so of course Toronto is losing at halftime. Déjà vu! 

Indeed, the Raptors trailed the Washington Wizards after 24 minutes at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday. And yes, Lowry and DeRozan shot poorly in the first half: 1-for-3 for the four-time All-Star point guard, 1-for-5 for the four-time All-Star shooting guard, seven points between them. The score was 59-55, though, and Lowry and DeRozan had four assists apiece. 

It might have felt like déjà vu, but it did not look like it — Toronto’s offense was fine. The problem was on the other end, where it struggled containing pick-and-rolls and uncharacteristically gave up a few wide-open looks at the rim, surrendering 36 points in the second quarter. 

The Raptors cleaned a lot of that up after halftime, and their world-destroying bench did their usual damage in a 114-106 win. This ended their 10-game losing streak in series openers, which dated all the way back to 2002. DeRozan finished with 17 points and six assists; Lowry had 11 and nine. The leading scorer was Serge Ibaka (23 points on 8-for-11 shooting), and the Raptors wouldn’t have won

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