National Basketball Association
Preview
Washington at Toronto
When: 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Paul Pierce mocked the Toronto Raptors prior to the start of the Eastern Conference series and then made sure the Washington Wizards won the opener. Pierce will attempt to help the Wizards take a 2-0 lead in the first-round clash when Washington again visits Toronto in Tuesday’s Game 2.

Pierce backed up his words by scoring five of his game-high 20 points in the overtime session of Saturday’s 93-86 victory. He then noted that the Wizards are now in the driver’s seat after stealing homecourt advantage from the Raptors. “It takes the pressure off us and puts it on them now,” Pierce told reporters. “When you win Game 1 on the road it sets the tone, it takes the pressure off us and puts it on them. I don’t mind playing the role of underdog or villain or whatever.” A second consecutive home loss would certainly add to the pressure facing Toronto, which hasn’t advanced in the playoffs since the 2000-01 campaign.

TV:
8 p.m. ET, NBATV, CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington), TSN (Toronto)

ABOUT THE WIZARDS: Washington won the opener despite shaky efforts by the backcourt tandem of Bradley Beal and John Wall. Beal was just 6-of-23 shooting and hoisted up several poor shots while scoring 16 points and Wall tallied 10 points on 5-of-18 shooting while recording eight assists. “If you shoot the ball well, there really is hardly anything wrong with your mechanics,” Beal told reporters after extensively working on his jumper during Sunday’s voluntary workout. “It’s really all mental.”

ABOUT THE RAPTORS: Toronto also experienced substandard performances from its backcourt as starters DeMar DeRozan (6-of-20) and Kyle Lowry (2-of-10) and sixth man Lou Williams (4-of-16) were a combined 12-of-46 from the field. DeRozan had 15 points, 11 rebounds and six assists as the only Raptors’ starter to score in double digits while Lowry’s play was particularly disappointing as he had just seven points before fouling out. Power forward Amir Johnson was by far the top Toronto player in the opener as he came off the bench to produce 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting and grab eight rebounds.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Washington PF Nene (ankle) was limited to 21 minutes in the opener but was highly productive with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

2. Toronto SF Terrence Ross is shooting just 29.3 percent in eight career postseason games, including 4-of-30 from 3-point range.

3. Pierce was 4-of-7 from 3-point range in the opener while the rest of the Wizards were 2-of-14 and the Raptors were a porous 6-of-29.

PREDICTION: Raptors 91, Wizards 90
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Washington 47-36 W1 29-12 18-24 3-6 44-30 10-6 31-22
Toronto 49-34 L1 27-15 22-19 3-3 46-31 11-5 33-20
Last Meeting
Washington Toronto
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
4/18/15 WAS 93 TOR 86 93 61 39.4 86 48 38.0
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Washington P. Pierce 20 70.0 2
Toronto A. Johnson 18 66.7 2
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Washington A. Nene 13 7 6
Toronto D. DeRozan 11 2 9
Assists Player  
Washington J. Wall 8
Toronto D. DeRozan 6
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Washington J. Wall 1482 43.9 311
Toronto L. Williams 1342 40.3 367
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Washington M. Gortat 787 196 591
Toronto J. Valanciunas 732 225 507
Assists Player  
Washington J. Wall 824
Toronto K. Lowry 504
Quickchart Matchup
Washington Off vs  Toronto Defense
98.5 Points For
100.8 Points Against
46.1 FG%
45.8 FG%
44.9 Reb
42.7 Reb
Toronto Off vs  Washington Defense
103.8 Points For
97.7 Points Against
45.4 FG%
43.3 FG%
42.7 Reb
41.8 Reb