This NBA season has been marked by several notable, critical injuries. Here’s a look at the most important ones to watch for each team in the postseason.
Timetable: VanVleet, who had been day-to-day with right shoulder soreness, was cleared to play in Game 2 but lasted less than three minutes. He missed Games 3-5, but has been cleared to return for Game 6.
Yet so much of Toronto’s maturation this season is a reflection of DeRozan’s individual growth and an affirmation of his leadership. He expanded his range and skill set when the schemes and principles of a revised offense demanded he do so. He embraced playmaking, an evolution that prompted him last week to state that he welcomed Washington’s trapping defenses because it empowered him to give up the ball and find teammates with alternate actions and better looks.
The fact that the Wizards have eased some of that pressure and attention should not be an invitation for the Raptors’ most prolific player to revert to old habits — but a challenge for him to maintain the new ones.
A game the top-seeded Raptors had led by 11 points at the half — and by eight with less than eight minutes remaining — had slipped. Toronto now finds itself tied 2-2, with Game 5 scheduled on Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre against a resurgent Wizards team that stated on Sunday night has identified the formula for knocking off the Raptors. [We] know what we can do to beat this team, Wizards guard John Wall said from the postgame podium. We know what we got to do to stop this team.
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Wall’s confidence is to be admired, and the Wizards deserve praise for a more deceptive defense that lured Toronto into a lousy combination of mismatch basketball, frenzied turnovers and missed opportunities on the offensive end. But whatever strategies Washington deployed effectively on Sunday night, the Raptors’ failures in Cody Eakin Youth jersey Game 4 were largely self-inflicted.
We passed up some shots, Lowry said. We didn’t move the ball as well. We just got stagnant.
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