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Raptors’ Game 1 woes continue

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The Raptors lost Game 1 last night.

Again.

Yes, I’m writing this post.

Again.

Toronto’s Game 1 struggles have reached comical proportions. Dropping the opening game of their second-round series to the Cavaliers, the Raptors have now lost 10 straight Game 1s. Their 1-12 all-time record in Game 1s is the worst among the NBA’s 30 current franchises:

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This isn’t just a result of a team overachieving just to reach the playoffs. Toronto is an unbelievable 0-6 in home Game 1s, including lost to the Bucks last round.

Maybe this is just coincidence. Maybe the Raptors have structural problems preparing for a series. But whatever it is seems not to carry into later games. Toronto is a nearly middling 27-29 in Games 2-7.

So perhaps there’s hope for the Raptors against Cleveland (though watching Game 1 certainly wouldn’t indicate it).

At least Toronto can take solace in not have the worst Game 1 win percentage in NBA history.

The Sheboygan Red Skins lost Game 1 of the 1950 Western Division semifinals to the Indianapolis Olympians then feel in three games. After its lone NBA season, Sheboygan was forced out and joined the National Professional Basketball League.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.