The Washington Wizards got off to an early lead and never looked back Sunday in a 125-94 victory over the visiting Toronto Raptors. Wizards point guard John Wall dished 5 of his 10 assists within the first quarter, as a balanced Washington attack gave way to a 36-22 end-of-first-quarter lead. The Raptors, who never led in what ended up the fourth and final game of the First Round series, found themselves down by as many as 37 points in the fourth quarter. Kyle Lowry led Toronto with 21 points in defeat.
“For us to come out and get it in four is good,” said Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman postgame. “That means we have a few days here of rest, and to get our bodies back, and get back our focus on who we will have to play. But we were really good tonight, from an offensive and defensive standpoint, and it started with John. He orchestrated us, and his pace was incredible.” Wall began that pace in the first quarter with center Marcin Gortat, who finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds in 29 minutes. Gortat and teammate Bradley Beal also contributed 5 assists each, on a night in which the Wizards assisted 30 of their 41 made shots. “Our bigs were really good in this series,” continued Coach Wittman. “All the way down the line, our guys were good.”
“It’s exciting,” said Wall, of his team’s advancement to the next round. “We didn’t finish the season as well as we wanted to and a lot of people didn’t have us favored to win this series because we didn’t beat them in the regular season, but we showed a different mindset and hunger during the playoffs.” While Washington failed to beat Toronto during the regular season, they seemed to have no issues during this Playoffs series. Veteran Paul Pierce went so far as to post a Game of Thrones-inspired photoshop using Toronto’s “The North” hashtag, labeling himself “King in the North.” The 17-year veteran scored only 11.9 points per game this season, yet he is averaging 15.5 thus far after four Playoffs games against the Raptors.
“I always try to tell these guys in the locker room, the playoffs are a different ball game,” said Pierce postgame. “I’ve been on teams where we have swept other teams in the regular season and then couldn’t get a win verse them in the playoffs, or maybe one game. Playoffs are a different game. The intensity goes up, more is on the line. That’s when you see the stars become super stars and that’s what you saw in this series tonight from John (Wall) and Bradley Beal.” Beal, who finished the sweep with a team-high 23 points, ended up as one of four Wizards with at least 3 made three-pointers on the night, as Washington scored a franchise Playoffs record 15 made three-pointers as a team. They also ended up with a franchise Playoffs third most total points in a four-quarters regulation, behind a 131-point effort in 1965 and a 128-point effort in 1971.
Tonight, the 4-0 Wizards enjoyed some Washington Capitals. They’ll face either the Atlanta Hawks or the Brooklyn Nets in the next round. The Hawks and Nets are now tied 2-2 in their series after the Nets took OT in Game 4.
GM 1: WAS at TOR, Sat., Apr. 18 | 12:30 PM ET: 93-86 W
GM 2: WAS at TOR, Tues., Apr. 21 | 8:00 PM ET: 117-106 W
GM 3: TOR at WAS, Fri., Apr. 24 | 8:00 PM ET: 106-99 W
GM 4: TOR at WAS, Sun., Apr. 26 | 6:30 PM ET: 125-94 W
NBA Series Hub: Raptors, Wizards look for momentum
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