This will be the Raptors’ third consecutive trip to the second round of the playoffs; they last failed to get that far in 2015, when they were swept in the opening round by the Wizards.
But this time, it is the Wizards bowing out early after talk during the regular season of a deep playoff. Instead, the Wizards were without John Wall for 41 games and wound up with the No. 8 seed in the East.
Wall had 23 points and 8 assists Friday. Bradley Beal led Washington with 32 points. But the Wizards’ run of eight straight playoff wins at home came to a close.
Surprising the Raptors would the ones to end the streak, given they had been 0-23 when trailing at halftime on the road in the postseason, the team said, citing the Elias Sports Bureau.
Even as DeRozan sat out two-thirds of the fourth quarter, the Raptors chipped away at the Wizards’ lead.
The Raptors never led by more than one point until a little more than eight and a half minutes remained, when reserve C. J. Miles made a 3 to put them up, 84-80, shortly after a 3 by VanVleet had erased the last bit of Washington’s last lead with a 3 of his own.
PACERS 121, CAVALIERS 87 Victor Oladipo scored 28 points and posted the first postseason triple-double of his career, leading host Indiana to a 121-87 blowout win over visiting Cleveland to even their series at three games each.
Game 7 will be played Sunday in Cleveland.
The Cavaliers, the three-time defending Eastern Conference champs, again were led by LeBron James. He had 22 points, seven assists and five rebounds despite sitting out the entire fourth quarter because the game had effectively been decided.
Nobody else scored more than 13 points for the Cavaliers, who lost their first closeout game in 14 tries dating to 2009. James had won 11 consecutive closeout games and is 12-0 all-time in the first-round series.
With its season at stake, Indiana played hard, aggressive and tough.
And it showed with a record-breaking victory margin.
Kevin Love hurt his left wrist on a hard fall midway through the second quarter and wound up scoring just seven points while shooting 3 of 10 from the field.
James took a shot, too, cutting the side of his left eye when he ran into Thaddeus Young’s elbow on a drive late in the first half. No foul was called, and James returned with a bandage protecting his face.
But with a relaxed Oladipo figuring out how to defeat the Cavs’ double teams, he rediscovered his shooting touch. Oladipo finished with 13 rebounds, 10 assists and was 11 of 19 from the field and 6 of 8 on 3s to keep the Pacers in charge most of the game.
After the Pacers erased a 22-17 deficit with a 12-2 run, the Cavs never led again.
Indiana’s 10-2 spurt midway through the second quarter made it 46-36. The Pacers opened the third by scoring the first five points to make it 62-47 and then they poured it on.
Myles Turner’s 3-pointer with 7:03 left in the third made it a 20-point game and the Pacers closed the quarter on a 10-1 run to extend the lead to 92-67.
CURRY QUESTIONABLE Stephen Curry is eager to get back on the court for the Golden State Warriors, but he knows it is not worth risking reinjuring his left knee by returning too soon.
Curry, the two-time league most valuable player, on Friday went through his first 5-on-5 scrimmage since the injury. But Coach Steve Kerr was not ready to proclaim Curry a go for Game 1 of the Warriors Western Conference semifinal series against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night — that decision might not be made until after the morning shootaround — instead listing Curry’s status as questionable for a second straight day.
“Still to be determined,” Curry said. “They come up with those snazzy words for a reason — doubtful, questionable, probable. I’ve learned a lot about what those words mean this year”
Curry, Kerr and Chelsea Lane, the Warriors director of physical performance and sports medicine, spoke in depth after Friday’s scrimmage, which was blocked from news media members’ view by a curtain.
On Thursday, Curry resumed full practice with contact but Kerr wanted to see how Curry responded after consecutive intense days of on-court work before he and the training staff decided when to let Curry return.
“A big part of this is how he turns up tomorrow after a night’s rest,” Kerr said. “It’s the first time he’s scrimmaged in six weeks, five weeks, whatever it is. It’s not as simple as he feels good, throw him out there.”