Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (L) goes to the basket over Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (R) of the Congo during the second quarter of the NBA Eastern Conference First Round basketball playoff game between the Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada, Apr. 14, 2018. EPA-EFE/WARREN TODA
Toronto, Canada, Apr 14 (efe-epa).- Serge Ibaka scored a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds Saturday night as the Toronto Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 114-106 in Game One of their Eastern Conference first round playoff.
The victory breaks a miserable record for the Raptors, who had lost 10 consecutive playoff openers, including six at home at the Air Canada Centre.
Toronto had not won a game one since their second round win against the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001.
Ibaka shone throughout on both sides of the ball, sinking eight-of-11 from the field, including three out of four three pointers, and made all four of his free throws.
The Congolese added an assist and 10 defensive rebounds on a hugely productive night for the number one seed in the East.
Six other Raptors scored in double figures, including Delon Wright with 18, who added four assists and three take aways.
DeMar DeRozan was the third-highest scorer for the home team, adding 17 points and six assists.
Kyle Lowry put up 11 points and played the role of conductor for Toronto, adding nine assists as he used the ball well.
John Wall led the scoring for the visiting Wizards, putting up a double-double of 23 points and 15 assists.
Markieff Morris was also at the double, scoring 22 points and grabbing eleven rebounds.
Bradley Beal added 19 points for Washington, with Mike Scott and Marcin Gortat putting up 14 and 12 points respectively.
The Wizards were competitive throughout, and led for most of the first three quarters.
They had a three-point lead at the start of the fourth, before a flagrant foul was called on Mike Scott for an elbow on Kyle Lowry.
Lowry made both free-throws, and the Raptors kept the ball, setting them up for a 26-15 run to close out the game to win their first playoff opening game in 17 years.
Despite that wretched winless run, DeRozan was confident that the Raptors would show why they are the number one seed and start the 2018 postseason with victory.
“We’ve been great at home all year, and that’s something we’ve worked for and gained that reputation from the beginning of the season. On home court, we’re supposed to win. That’s our mindset”, DeRozan said.
Game Two will be held at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday.