Wizards spellbound by rampant Raptors

C.J. Miles #0 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates after making a three-pointer as rap artist Drake celebrates on the sideline against the Washington Wizards during Game One of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs in Toronto

Los Angeles (AFP) – DeMar DeRozan scored 37 points as the Toronto Raptors overwhelmed the Washington Wizards 130-119 to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference NBA playoff series on Tuesday.

A record-breaking first-half performance laid the foundations for the Raptors, who had surged into a 76-58 lead at half-time to leave Washington chasing an 18-point deficit after the break.

DeRozan, who also contributed four assists and five rebounds, spearheaded a rampant Toronto offense, which saw six players finish with double-digit points tallies.

Jonas Valanciunas scored 19 points while C.J. Miles had 18 off the bench as Toronto took a firm grip on the series with game three set for Washington on Friday.

Washington’s resistance was led by John Wall with 29 points, but the Wizards were rarely in the contest, save for one late rally as the top-seeded Raptors eased up.

Wall had given Washington hope of a recovery after draining two free throws to take the Wizards back to within five points at 108-103 in the fourth quarter.

But Toronto slammed the door with a rapid burst of scoring to take the game away from the Wizards for good as the clock wound down.

Earlier, the Raptors wasted no time in forging ahead during a lop-sided first half. Toronto powered into a 24-11 midway through the first period and were soon 34-13 up.

Toronto maintained a 20-point cushion through most of the first half, and they quickly passed their franchise record points tally of 63 to finish on 76 as the half-time the buzzer sounded at the Air Canada Center.