It's expected for every 8-seed to lose their first game of the playoffs.
Toronto ranks third in three pointers attempted per game (33.0) while Washington ranks 23rd (26.5). Miles' shooting, the Raptors used the same balanced effort Saturday that they did from October through mid-April, when they racked up an Eastern Conference-leading 59 wins.
Serge Ibaka finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks and Delon Wright scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter for the Raptors, who are off to a winning start in a playoff series for the first time in nearly 17 years.
Win or lose, the real winners are emerging generations of Raptors fans that now have their own era of sustained success to look back on fondly, to share amongst themselves. It would have been just about unimaginable, however, in years past.
It was just two minutes and 11 seconds of game time, but it felt like the Raptors had just turned the perception of their team on its ear.
"We knew that was how they were going to try to play us, especially K-Low and DeMar, they're going to try to double them". Miles, who was brought here as a free agent nearly entirely so he could shoot three pointers in big games, shot like a guy who didn't care at all about the Raptors' 17-year, 10-game, series-opener losing streak.
Jakob Poeltl's alley-oop midway through the second made it an eight-point Raptors lead, but a 13-0 Wizards run gave the visitors a five-point lead. Even when their starters don't have it, their role players step up and they can still win.
"They are a good team", Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "They say 'Lucas, go ahead, ' and I just go play".
"We got Game 1, as we should". He does have the advantage of his returning point guard in two ways: Gortat is effective in the pick and roll with his veteran ability to read a defense, and, with the spotlight on Wall's return, the defense may be more keyed on stopping him rather than clogging the paint. Lowry played more minutes than usual and was at point guard early in the fourth with several substitutes for the Raptors' push.
The high-powered offense of Toronto (third in the National Basketball Association with an offensive efficiency of 111.6) will battle against the mid-tier defense of Washington (15th in the league with a defensive efficiency of 106.8). This will be a rematch of a series dating back to 2015, when the seemingly apathetic Wizards squad squashed the surging Raptors.