For the second consecutive season the Washington Wizards will advance to the second round of the playoffs, while the Toronto Raptors will head home in an early round exit. Washington dominated Game 4 from start to finish and blew out the Raptors, 125-94. This is the first time in the Wizards franchise history they swept a team in a seven-game series.
Washington was led by guard Bradley Beal with 23 points, five rebound and four steals. Beal also attacked the basket all night as he went 10-of-11 from the charity stripe. Marcin Gortat came up with another huge game as he scored 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field, while grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out five assists. In 25 minutes of play, John Wall scored 14 points and dished out 10 assists.
John Wall’s numbers in the box score aren’t necessarily eye-popping, but his ability to control the game from the tip was impressive. He only attempted five shots, making three, but he attacked with great pace getting to the free throw line where he went a perfect 7-of-7. Wall ran into a little foul trouble that sat him in the third quarter earlier than usual, but his teammates stepped it up and furthered the lead. Despite not being on the floor, Wall was just as excited after Gortat made a layup and drew the foul late in the third quarter. Once the timeout was called Wall waved his towel and chest bumped big fella as Washington really had the game in hand.
The Wizards had seven players in double-figures including all five starters. Paul Pierce scored 14 points knocking down four three-pointers. Nene added 10 points and four rebounds before he fouled out. Ramon Sessions came off the bench and scored 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field including three field goals from behind the arc. Drew Gooden added 13 points and three shots from long range, while Otto Porter scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Kyle Lowry led the Raptors in scoring with 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out four assists. DeMar DeRozan was contained with only 14 points, four rebounds and four assists. Sixth Man of the Year Louis Williams continued his cold shooting in this series by finishing with 14 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field.
The sellout crowd in the Verizon Center enjoyed every bit of tonight’s game as they would stand up and cheer after all 15 three-pointers (a franchise playoff record) went down, while giving standing ovations to every starter who came off the court once the game was in hand.
Washington had a death grip on this game from the start. After the first quarter the Wizards led 36-22 thanks to efficient shooting and getting to the free throw line making 13-of-15. Toronto played better in the second quarter, but the Wizards would still outscore them and lead by 16. The Wizards didn’t take long once the second half started to land the haymaker that would finally decide the game. Washington outscored the Raptors 36-20 in the third quarter giving them a 102-70 lead. It was the Wizards three-pointer shooting that really deflated this Toronto team. On the night Washington went 15-of-26 from three, including 7-of-8 in the third quarter. Combine lights out shooting from behind the arc and going 28-of-34 from the charity stripe, the Raptors had no shot of taking this game back to Toronto. And just like Pierce wanted, the Wizards don’t need their passports as they completed the sweep and won’t return to Toronto for a Game 5.
The Wizards grabbed the rebounding advantage for the fourth-straight game 42-to-37. They moved the ball exceptionally assisting on 30 of the 41 made field goals. This was one of the few times the Wizards went to the free throw line at will, and the backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal combined to go 17-of-18. Washington’s defense bothered the Raptors offense holding them to 43.9 percent from the field and 28 percent from behind the arc. The Wizards backcourt accepted the challenge of stopping Toronto’s, and they outplayed them every single game in this series.
This is another example that regular season success doesn’t necessarily translate success in the postseason. Toronto tied a franchise record with 49 wins and defeated Washington 3-0 in their regular season series. It was Washington who made the necessary adjustments and ramped up their focus en route to a four-game sweep. The Raptors continued their postseason woes as they’ve been eliminated in the first round their last five postseason trips.
It was 1979 the last time Washington won at least 46 wins in a season, as well as advancing past the first round in consecutive seasons. In 1977-78 the then Bullets won the NBA Finals, and the next season, 1978-79, Washington would advance to the Finals again only to lose to the Seattle Supersonics in five games.
Up next for Washington will be the winner of the #1 seeded Atlanta Hawks and #8 seeded Brooklyn Nets. Atlanta has the series advantage 2-1, and will play Game 4 tomorrow night. The Wizards will have ample time to recuperate before they go head-to-head with a chance to go to the Eastern Conference Finals.