Tuesday’s NBA playoffs: Raptors take 2-0 lead vs. Wizards
Toronto — DeMar DeRozan’s big game put the Toronto Raptors in a place they’ve never been before: up 2-0 in a playoff series.
DeRozan matched his career playoff-high with 37 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and 14 rebounds and the Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 130-119 on Tuesday night as Toronto took a 2-0 lead in a playoff series for the first time in franchise history.
“I didn’t go out there planning to score 37 points, I went out there to be aggressive,” DeRozan said.
Kyle Lowry had 13 points and a career playoff-high 12 assists as Toronto set team playoff records for points in a quarter, a half, and a game.
C.J. Miles scored 18, Delon Wright had 11 and Serge Ibaka 10 for the Raptors, who snapped an NBA-worst 10-game losing streak in Game 1s with a 114-106 win on Saturday.
DeRozan, whose 37th point came on a friendly roll on a fourth quarter free throw, equalled his total from Game 3 of the second round against Cleveland last year. It was his 12th career 30-point game in the postseason. The Raptors are 9-3 in those games.
“I though DeMar was super on the offensive end,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “We needed every point. He did an excellent job of reading what the defense was doing to him and making them pay.”
Lowry called DeRozan “an MVP-type caliber player.”
DeRozan missed his first two shots but connected on 14 of his final 21 attempts, including three of six from long range. He also converted a four-point play.
“When he’s making 3’s, he’s very tough to guard,” Washington’s John Wall said of DeRozan.
Toronto, which made a team playoff record 16 3-pointers Saturday, connected on 13 of 35 from long range in Game 2, making only two in the second half.
Wall scored 29 points, Mike Scott had a career playoff-high 20 and Ty Lawson 14 for the Wizards, who host Game 3 on Friday night.
“We’re the team that’s in the hole, we’re the team that’s desperate, but we have a lot of confidence,” Wall said. “We’re not down on ourselves at all.”
Wizards guard Bradley Beal missed eight of 11 shots and finished with nine points. Beal had more fouls in the first half (three) than made baskets (two).
“We need him,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “We’re going to have trouble beating this team if he doesn’t play better.”
Trailing 100-90 to begin the fourth quarter, the Wizards cut it to 108-103 with 7:52 left on back-to-back 3-pointers by Scott and Lawson, and a pair of free throws from Wall.
Miles stopped the run with a long 3, Toronto’s first of the second half, and the Raptors put it away with a 17-4 spurt over the next four minutes. The sellout crowd roared when DeRozan forced a turnover and saved the ball from going out of bounds, then passed to Lowry who fed Wright for an alley-oop dunk with 3:38 left, putting Toronto up 125-107.
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet returned after sitting out Game 1 because of a bruised right shoulder, but looked rusty in three minutes of action at the start of the second quarter, airballing a shot and mishandling a pass before being replaced by Lowry. VanVleet did not play in the second half.
“He was tentative, he was just too tentative,” Casey said. “I felt like we had to get him out and let him rest a little bit more. He just wasn’t ready.”
Toronto set a team playoff record with 44 points in the first quarter, including 13 from DeRozan, and led 44-27 after one. All five starters made at least one 3-pointer as the Raptors shot 7 for 13 from long range.
“Seven 3s in a quarter, that got the momentum going,” Brooks said.
Brooks called two timeouts to try and slow Toronto, to little effect, while Wizards guards Wall and Beal each picked up two early fouls, forcing them to the bench.
“That kind of hurt us and they took full advantage of that,” Wall said.
Miles made three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the second and DeRozan added seven as Toronto broke its playoff record for points in a half by taking a 76-58 lead at halftime.
Wall scored 14 points in the third while Toronto shot 0 for 7 from 3-point range, allowing the Wizards to cut it to 100-90 heading to the fourth.
MORE EASTERN CONFERENCE
(At) Boston 120, Milwaukee 106: Jaylen Brown had a playoff career-high 30 points and the Celtics pulled away into second half. Terry Rozier added 23 points for Boston, which took a 2-0 series lead in the first-round matchup. Game 3 is set for Friday in Milwaukee.
The Celtics led by as many as 20 in the fourth quarter.
Milwaukee got as close as 107-97 with 4:13 to play. But the Celtics responded with an 11-2 run, capped by a banked in 3-pointer by Brown to push their lead back up to 118-99.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Khris Middleton added 25 points.
Turnovers were an issue for the second straight game for Milwaukee. The Bucks finished with 15, leading to 21 Boston points. They also shot just 41 percent from the free-throw line (7 of 17).
The Celtics bench came up big, outscoring their Milwaukee counterparts 41-25. Marcus Morris led Boston’s reserves with 18 points.
Boston led by as many as 13 in the first half, taking advantage of 10 Milwaukee turnovers.
Antetokounmpo scored 18 points in the opening 24 minutes. He had his way on the inside, connecting on 8 of his 9 shots from the field.
New Orleans 111, (at) Portland 102: Jrue Holiday had a career playoff-high 33 points and the New Orleans Pelicans took a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series. Rajon Rondo had 16 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Pelicans, who host the Blazers on Thursday as the series shifts to New Orleans. Anthony Davis added 22 points and 13 rebounds.
CJ McCollum, who struggled with backcourt teammate Damian Lillard in the opener, rebounded with 22 points to lead the Blazers.
Portland trailed by as many as 11 points in the third quarter but Lillard hit a 3-pointer and added a free throw to tie the game at 93 with 7:31 left. Holiday’s pull-up jumper and Rondo’s driving layup kept the Blazers from pulling ahead.
Maurice Harkless dunked and Al-Farouq Aminu had a layup to re-tie the game at 97. After Holiday’s hook shot, Harkless made a 3-pointer to give Portland a 100-99 lead and the Blazers never looked back.