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Wizards-Raptors: Things to know before Game 3

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Wizards-Raptors: Things to know before Game 3

As the headline said, things to know before Wizards-Raptors tip for Game 3.

  • Quick look back at the two games in Toronto before focusing on Game 3. The Wizards claimed two victories over the Raptors after losing the regular season series 3-0. They also won two road games against a team with a winning record - or one more than they had in three months. 

Here is a list of Washington's road games against teams with .500 or better records since January 24:

Jan 24 at Blazers                103-96 L

Jan. 28 at Suns                   106-98 L

Feb 4 at Hawks                  105-96 L

Feb 11 at Raptors                95-93 L

March 3 at Bulls                  97-92  L

March 20 at Clippers        113-99 L

March 23 at Warriors       107-76 L

*April 4 at Grizzlies             92-83 W

April 15 at Cavaliers        113-108 L (OT)

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These two victories improved Washington's road playoff record over the last two seasons to 7-1. On the flip side, the Wizards went 1-4 at home last season.

  • The Wizards led by four and 11 points at halftime respectively in Game 1 and 2. Not that DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry were around when Toronto played its first playoff game in 2000, but the Raptors franchise is 13-7 when leading at the half in the postseason and 1-19 when trailing. 
  • Several variables have led to the Wizards's 2-0 lead including offensive rebounding, the stretch-4 lineup with Paul Pierce and Otto Porter and the play of Toronto's backcourt. At least in this series, there has been little debate about which team has the best backcourt. Forget John Wall and Bradley Beal. DeRozan and Lowry don't compare to the regular season versions of themselves (regular season numbers followed by playoff stats):

Points: 37.3, 24.0

Field goal %: 41.1, 34.5

3-point FG%: 35.0, 0.0 (0 for 8)

Assists: 9.7, 10.5

  • Mentioned this stat before worth repeating since it took place in each of the first two games: The Wizards are 14-1 this season when at any point in the game using Drew Gooden with starters Wall, Beal, Pierce and Marcin Gortat together. The lone loss was the double-overtime setback against the Pacers in Game 81 of the regular season.

  • And last but not least (though maybe)...The Raptors are 13-18 since Feb. 13. Why that date? That's when Drake released "If You're Reading This It's Too Late."

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime?