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Area Players Playoff Impact: Washington vs Toronto

By Troy Haliburton, 04/20/15, 2:30PM EDT

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The first weekend of the 2015 NBA playoffs are in the books, and Hardwood Insiders is taking a look at the former prep stars from our coverage area who are having an impact on their respective series’. In the Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards series there are two very impactful “area” players playing for the Raptors trying to upset their hometown Wizards. Greivis  Vasquez and Terrence Ross are both alumnus of the renowned Montrose Christian basketball program in Rockville Maryland.

 

Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors) 6'0 Guard

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  

High School: Cardinal Dougherty

2014-15 NBA Stats: 17.8 points | 4.7 rebounds | 6.8 assists

Synopsis: Lowry has seen his career take off in the three seasons he has spent north of the border. He has two consecutive All-Star berths, including being voted in as a starter for the 2015 All-Star game. Lowry is the heart and soul of the Toronto Raptors squad. He is responsible for directing the offense by getting his teammates involved to the tune of 6.8 assists per game, while also contributing as one of their primary scorers. Lowry doesn't just bring it on the offensive end, he shows that same tenacity when guarding opposing point guards. Although Lowry did not start off the series against Washington the way he would have liked, he will continue to be the leader that Raptors fans have grown to love. Expect Lowry to battle with fellow All-Star starter John Wall in what will be a very competetive series.


 

Greivis Vasquez (Toronto Raptors) 6'6 Guard

Hometown: Carcas, Venezuela  

High School: Montrose Christian School

2014-15 NBA Stats: 9.5 points | 2.6 rebounds | 3.7 assists

Synopsis: Greivis Vasquez is an integral part of the Raptors’ team success for the 2014-15 season. Vasquez is the primary backup point guard, behind All-Star starter Kyle Lowry. He is known for his ability to create his own shot off the dribble, while being a steady force responsible for running the Raptors second team offense.  Vasquez is also a clutch player as he has never been afraid to take the big shot. In Saturday afternoon’s opening round playoff matchup, Vasquez scored 10 points in an overtime loss to the Wizards, but that game would not have even gone to overtime of it were not for a clutch Vasquez three-pointer to tie the game in the last seconds. With Raptors starter Kyle Lowry having one of his worst performances of only seven points, compared to six personal fouls, it may be up to Vasquez to shoulder more of the scoring load for future games if the Raptors are to advance.

 

Terrence Ross (Toronto Raptors) 6'7 Forward

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

High School: Montrose Christian School

2014-15 NBA Stats: 9.8 points | 2.8 rebounds | 1.0 assists

Synopsis: Ross is the starting small Forward for the Raptors and will most certainly have an impact on their first round series with the Wizards. Ross is looking to bounce back from his immense struggles in his first playoff action from last year, that saw him put forth one of the worst player efficiency ratings (PER) for a player that played over 100 minutes in a playoff series (0.9). For those that are not familiar with the advanced metric stat, the average PER in the NBA is around 15, so Ross grossly underperformed last post-season. This year Ross was off to a better start with six points, three rebounds, two blocked shots, and a near tip-in at the buzzer that would have won the game in regulation. Ross needs to remain confident in his jumpshot, and increase his defensive intensity on the Wizards opposing small forward Paul Pierce if he wants to continue to earn meaningful playoff minutes.

 

Rasual Butler (Washington Wizards) 6'8 Forward

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

High School: Roman Catholic

2014-15 NBA Stats: 7.7 points | 2.6 rebounds | 0.8 assists

Synopsis: Rasual Butler started out as one of the most surprising players in the NBA in the 2014-15 season. The NBA journeymen was the last player to make the Wizards roster, after capitalizing on a last-minute training camp invite. In the month of December Butler was scorching hot, averaging 11.6 points per game and shooting 46% from three-point range. Butler’s hot shooting was one of the main catalyst that allowed the Wizards to take the NBA by storm in the first half of the season, amassing a 21-7 record, while looking like valid NBA title contenders. The hot shooting did not last, as Butler’s post All-Star game splits were 5.7 points on only 28% from three. Butler played less than one minute in game one against the Raptors, but he could be called upon to make a contribution at some point in this series because of head coach Randy Wittman’s sudden change to the offense. Wittman finally incorporated a small-ball lineup by putting future Hall-of-Famer Paul pIerce at the power forward position next to Otto Porter at the small forward. Pierce only played 4% of his minutes at power forward during the regular season but played the majority of his minutes Saturday as a “stretch 4.” Butler could be asked to spell Porter at the small forward or even supplement Pierce as an additional stretch 4.

 

 x Troy Haliburton

Follow Troy on Twitter @TroyHalibur

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Photos courtesy of sportsnet.ca and washingtonpost.com

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