Toronto Raptors: 6 Revelations From Game 5 Win Over Wizards

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Kyle Lowry
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Kyle Lowry /
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Toronto Raptors
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 20: Jonas Valanciunas /

5. Jonas Valanciunas’ fourth quarter debut

Ever since the first quarter of Game 1, when Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi drew early fouls forcing the Wizards to play small, I thought this was going to be a tough series for Valanciunas. JV’s achilles heel as a big man is his foot speed and the Wizards have that in abundance.

Any lineup without Gortat or Mahinmi is enough to make Casey shirk away from JV. And even though he’s been the team’s third-best player, the defensive implications are brutal.

And yet, with the pivotal Game 5 hanging in the balance, Casey went to Valanciunas in crunch time. He’s just fast enough on pick and rolls to not get burned, which is all the Toronto Raptors could ask for.

The big man was massive on the glass and exceptional at the rim. He led the team in +/- at +19 with 14 points, 13 rebounds and a clutch steal on John Wall down the stretch of the fourth quarter.

Toronto Raptors
TORONTO, ON – APRIL 17: Serge Ibaka /

Raptors fail on the boards

The Wizards out rebounded the Raptors 50 – 35. Let that sink in. The Wizards shot an abysmal 41.1 percent from the field, but when you get more possessions than your opponent, you can make it up with sheer volume. Valanciunas was the Raptors’ only double-digit rebounder and only one other player grabbed five or more (Wright).

Some of the rebounds happened to be lucky bounces back to shooters or long rebounds catered to the Wizards, but mostly the Raptors weren’t fighting for boards.

A lot of rebounding is just simple effort and the Dino’s were looking for someone else to grab the board so they could get out and run. That’s not how it works; you gotta squeeze the orange before it produces any juice.

Next: Time for Raps to prove this year is different

Going small also hurts the Toronto Raptors’ rebounding; Ibaka has never crashed the boards and outside of Jakob Poeltl, everyone else on the roster is trying to change sides of the court as fast as possible. Luckily, Casey has found new love for JV in Game 5; should it cross over to Game 6, rebounding shouldn’t be an issue.