Fred VanVleet (shoulder) ruled out for Raptors in Game 3 on Friday

If the playoff woes are in the rearview for the guard duo, Toronto has a great shot at winning the Eastern Conference.

With their backs against the wall, the Washington Wizards understood they needed to modify their approach against the Toronto Raptors in order to have any chance in the first-round matchup.

Game 4 is at Washington on Sunday night.

"They came out and punched us and we allowed them to", coach Dwane Casey summed it up.

By halftime of Friday night's 122-103 victory at Capital One Arena, Beal - to the delight of a packed house - had reclaimed the smooth shooting stroke that elevated him to 13th in the National Basketball Association in scoring and resulted in the sixth-year guard's first all-star selection. He had a quiet and non-impactful 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting in Game 1, followed by a horrific performance in just 25 minutes in Game 2.

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This game started as a repeat of the first two contests, with the Raptors jumping out to a 27-18 lead with less than three minutes to play in the first quarter.

"We're not going out to try to box every game", Beal said, before describing Morris as "a bully with a smile".

It was an uncharacteristically sloppy night the Raptors, who coughed up 28 points on 19 turnovers. His nine points on 3-of-11 field goals didn't quite show how much he struggled. The Raptors lost the points in the paint 52-44 and the rebounding battle by a 39-34 margin as well.

Early in the third quarter, Lowry was called for a flagrant foul when he swiped a hand across Beal's forehead as the Wizards guard went in for a breakaway layup.

As a result of the fracas, Wall and Ibaka were assessed double-technical fouls and Beal earned a T for provoking Valanciunas, though he said he was just trying to get the ball. Past year in the first round, it was all about finally winning a playoff series in under 7 games - much was made about the Raptors' mental fragility in the playoffs, and the inability to put the Bucks away easily perpetuated a long-standing narrative about the Raptors under-performing in the playoffs. Look for them to have another big first quarter on both sides of the ball, putting up at least 30 points in the opening frame. They were expecting a fierce fight from the Wizards on their home court. DeMar DeRozan went off for 37 points on 14-of-23 shooting. Bradley Beal went up to Valanciunas, and some players gathered around the situation. Marcin Gortat added 16 points on eight of 10 shooting while Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre Jr. each finished with 12 points off the bench. At the time, the Wizards led by just two points, 38-36. We knew that coming in, so, really, Friday's Game 3 122-103 whupping of the visiting Raptors should not have been a surprise. This was the Wizards pushing back and the Raptors, for one night, having no sufficient answer. The first two games were aberrations. The under is 4-0 in the last four Washington games on Friday. Beal and Wall outshone DeRozan and Lowry, which told the tale. We were able to get stops and get out in transition. "Brad got off and played well, John got himself going". The Raptors will see if they can dominate on the road like they did at home, and the Celtics will look to take a commanding 3-0 lead on the Bucks. The best players for the Raptors in that game were Delon Wright, CJ Miles, and Serge Ibaka. Yes, some Toronto players defended him well, but Beal also missed a lot of shots he would normally knock down. As for Porter, he has a mere 19 points in two games and has basically been a nonfactor.

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