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

WASHINGTON, D.C. -The Raptors had to know the counterpunch was coming.

There had been talk of the Wizards shaking up their lineup after Game 2, but coach Scott Brooks stuck with his regulars, saying before the game that he was "confident in the group". As a result, the Raptors saw their lead in the series trimmed to 2-1: a win here would put them in a favorable 3-1 situation going back north while a loss would tie the series.

"The biggest thing was we were down 2-0". Any discussion of the Eastern Conference Finals was replaced by skepticism regarding whether their eighth-seeded team would even make it out of the first round against the top-seeded Raptors.

Washington's big names did the biggest damage. Ty Lawson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Wizards a 101-82 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Beal remarked how much easier the game is for everyone when Wall plays.

The Wizards played poorly in both of the first two games in Toronto. DeRozan had 23 points on an inefficient 22 shots. The Wizards rank 19th in points off turnovers allowed per game (17.2).

"When they play at that level, they are really good", Raptors guard Kyle Lowry told the Toronto Sun regarding the Wall-Beal tandem.

It was ugly nearly from the get-go.

Wall took the approach that Beal had in the first quarter, and made a decision to be demonstrative with his offense; he did it with his scoring, his assists, and he peppered in some defense as well. Lowry threw away pass after pass.

Beal rebounded from a 3-of-11 effort (nine points) in Game 2, scoring 21 first-half points as Washington built an eight-point lead at intermission it never relinquished. We had some of the same turnovers the first two games but we were able to score and have a cushion and live through it. "He's had a lot in the playoffs in these last couple of playoffs".

It was the kind of performance that had to be expected from the Wizards.

Especially Wall, still finding his way back after an extended absence. He mightily struggled in the first two games of the series. "We have to play defense". "We've got to protect our home floor".

Washington's push followed historic form. The Wizards clearly had other plans, dominating the Raptors after a slow start to bring the series to 2-1.

Game 5 will take place on Wednesday night in Toronto.

"That's the playoffs", Brooks said. "If they're making shots, mid-range, layups and threes like they're doing now, it'd be historic numbers".

Trailing Toronto 2-0 in their the opening-round playoff series, the Washington Wizards came out swinging Friday night.

All of about 2½ minutes in, Washington's Markieff Morris and Toronto's OG Anunoby needed to be separated after a near-fight. The Wizards would stretch the lead to 13 before the Toronto starters came in to trim it to five.

The Wizards definitely were, to the dismay of the small pockets of Raptors fans dotting Capital One Arena.

Going into game 4 though - will the Raptors stick to their game plan or change things up?

Bradley Beal - Beal has had a habit of raising his game in the playoffs, but that hasn't happened yet thus far. Mike Scott has been surprisingly effective as well, as he's gone 7-of-10 in both games thus far. Wall could not be contained.

"I'd like to see him be more aggressive", Brooks said before Friday's game. Friday morning, Casey wasn't interested in revealing how he might counter any Washington adjustments.