DC Council Round 1, Game 2: Wizards at Raptors — Wall and Beal Make Light Work of Weighty Win | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

DC Council Round 1, Game 2: Wizards at Raptors — Wall and Beal Make Light Work of Weighty Win

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Updated: April 22, 2015

Truth About It.net’s D.C. Council:
Grading Wizards players from Game 2 of the Wizards vs. Raptors series
Contributor: Dan Diamond from The Mid-Atlantic.

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John Wall’s now played 13 career playoff games. This was his best one—by far.

With Wall driving, dishing, and demonstrating leadership, the Wizards quickly overcame an early deficit. (It’s almost impossible to remember, but the Raptors held a 25-16 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter.) And the Wiz just … kept … going.

Washington outscored Toronto by 16 in the second quarter and 11 in the third. That was largely due to shooters that couldn’t miss, but credit the defense, too: The Wizards showed playoff physicality, bodying the Raptors for rebounds, steals, and blocks.

Although the game appeared over in the third quarter, Toronto crept back in the fourth to make things a little too interesting. The Raptors cut a 23-point lead in half, penetrating over and over again for too-easy layups. And the Wizards’ mostly smooth offense began to sputter to the finish.

(This has been a consistent problem for Washington; TAI’s John Converse Townsend sagely noted that the Wizards had one of the worst fourth-quarter offenses in the league, hinting that this could be an issue through the playoffs.)

Still. A playoff win is a playoff win. And there were many, many stats for Wizards fans to love on Tuesday night.

  • Bradley Beal and Otto Porter hitting new playoff career-highs in points.
  • John Wall demolishing his playoff career-high in assists.
  • The Wizards scoring 117 points in a playoff victory for the first time in a decade.

But the best number: 93 percent. That’s the odds of an NBA team winning a first-round series after getting out to a 2-0 lead.

Don’t be fooled by the fools. After this lackluster season, and last year’s disappointing playoff exit, this was a weighty win for the Wizards. Now it’s back to D.C., ideally to close out the series and establish a new team custom—avoiding them.


 

Washington Wizards

117

Final

Box Score

Toronto Raptors

106

Nene Hilario, PF

25 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +4 +/-

Nene had a relatively quiet game, missing some long jumpers and losing some playing time to Pierce, but his defense was fine and his offense wasn’t much needed. (And, as Wittman said in the post-game press conference, 9 rebounds in 25 minutes is a valuable contribution.)


Paul Pierce, SF

27 MIN | 2-7 FG | 4-6 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | +7 +/-

Nearly a dozen players drafted in the 1990s are left in the NBA. None of them has made a bigger impact on the 2015 playoffs than Paul Pierce. And sure, Pierce’s limitations are apparent—never moreso than when he was futilely chasing DeMar DeRozan, a tough defensive assignment for the 37-year-old.

But his brash confidence has infected this series, and every time John Wall bellowed after a dunk or Bradley Beal stared down the Raptors, it was impossible not to see a hint of the Truth in the display. And playing Pierce at the power forward position has turned out to be a long overdue masterstroke.


Marcin Gortat, C

28 MIN | 7-9 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | -1 +/-

For the second straight game, Gortat converted key shots and bodied Raptors on defense—although he still had problems stopping Jonas Valanciunas when the Toronto big man was able to get good position. Given the expectations that accompanied his major contract, Gortat may have slightly disappointed in the regular season, but he continues to deliver in the playoffs.


John Wall, PG

40 MIN | 8-16 FG | 8-11 FT | 1 REB | 17 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 26 PTS | +14 +/-

After a rough Game 1, Wall was a little out of control early in Game 2 (he was called for a charge on the first possession of the game), but took control in the second quarter. (My notes on Wall for one two-minute stretch were: steal + dunk = great play, repeat.) His spin-and-dish for a Gortat layup was a thing of beauty.

Through the third quarter, Wall did basically everything right—his ill-advised end-of-quarter 3-point attempt not withstanding—and his 17 assists were a playoff franchise-high for Washington. He handled himself like a pro in the post-game interviews, too.

What more could we ask for? The top pick in the 2010 draft is growing up before our eyes.


Bradley Beal, SG

42 MIN | 12-21 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 28 PTS | +4 +/-

2014 Playoff-Edition Bradley Beal—missing for much of the 2015 season—was resurrected on Tuesday night. When did he come alive? Look to the second quarter, when Beal converted two straight layups to tie the game and canned a 3-pointer to give the Wizards their first lead. His assertive play translated to a playoff career-high of 28 points.


Drew Gooden, PF

18 MIN | 1-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +1 +/-

Gooden didn’t make a shot from the field until the end of the third quarter—when the Wizards already had an 18-point lead—but he contributed when he was on the floor.


Otto Porter Jr., SF

35 MIN | 6-8 FG | 1-4 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +17 +/-

Porter had seven career points in the playoffs entering Game 2. He topped that by the third quarter. Porter filled out the stat sheet and Hustle Board in so many ways—a pair of 3s, four offensive boards, and plenty of small plays to keep possessions alive. Arguably his best, most important game in the NBA so far.


Kevin Seraphin, C

10 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +7 +/-

The Wizards were plus-7 in Seraphin’s 10 minutes on the floor, with the backup big man rolling to the hole off Wall assists.


Ramon Sessions, PG

15 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +2 +/-

Sessions continues to be a valuable distributor and change of pace guard, with Wittman repeatedly using him and fellow slasher John Wall together.


Randy Wittman

The stat that’s getting a lot of attention is that Wittman is now 7-1 on the road in the playoffs. But let’s put this year’s success in context: only four other teams have gone up 2-0 on the road, since the NBA moved to a seven-game first round series. (One of those teams was the Wizards, who whipped the Bulls last year.) And no matter what you think of Wittman, Tuesday’s results speak for themselves. Now about that 1-4 home playoff record…

 

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Dan Diamond
Contributor at TAI