(Reuters) Serge Ibaka scored 23 points, and the Toronto Raptors stared down their playoff demons with a 114-106 win over the Washington Wizards in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference series at Air Canada Centre yesterday.
Delon Wright and CJ Miles each had big games off the bench, combining for 30 points for the Raptors, who snapped a streak of 10 straight Game 1 losses.
Toronto’s bench outscored Washington’s reserves 42-21.
Game 2 is Tuesday in Toronto.
Yesterday’s win was the Raptors’ first opening playoff win in the franchise’s history. But it wasn’t easy.
John Wall led Washington with 23 points and 15 assists, and Markieff Morris scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Toronto led 86-85 after a back-and-forth third quarter, setting up a pressure-packed finish for the top seed in the East. The Raptors grabbed the momentum early in the fourth quarter after Wizards forward Mike Scott was called for a flagrant foul on Kyle Lowry. The Toronto point guard hit two free throws and assisted on a Miles’ 3-pointer to cap a 7-0 spurt for the Raptors.
Miles’ second 3-pointer of the quarter put Toronto up 103-96 with just over six minutes to play. Miles finished with 12 points, and Wright added 18 points, 11 coming in the decisive fourth quarter.
Lowry set up Ibaka for a layup that gave the Raptors a 10-point lead with 1:42 to play. Washington got back within seven, but couldn’t catch back up.
Lowry had 11 points and nine assists, and DeMar DeRozan finished with 17 points for Toronto.
The Raptors started strong, getting out to a 14-4 lead, but were unable to separate themselves further. Wall had a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter to bring the Wizards back. Washington led 59-55 at halftime.
Wall missed two months after undergoing knee surgery in late January. He returned for the final two weeks, but the Wizards still struggled down the stretch. They lost five of their last six, including a loss to the last-place Orlando Magic that stuck the Wizards with the eighth seed.
The start of the game was delayed 15 minutes by a leak in the roof that left moisture on the court.