Key Legislature: Wizards 117 at Raptors 106 — The Night the Lights Went Out on Maple Leaf Square | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Key Legislature: Wizards 117 at Raptors 106 — The Night the Lights Went Out on Maple Leaf Square

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Updated: April 22, 2015
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[Bradley Beal is a bad man.]

Truth About It.net’s Key Legislature: a quick run-down and the game’s defining moment(s) for Washington Wizards contest No. 2 versus the Raptors in Toronto in the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs, via Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace) from the District.

DC Council Key Legislature

by Adam Rubin.

How ‘bout them Wizards? Maybe Chris ‘Thompson’ was on to something when he (half-heartedly) argued that Randy Wittman just might be a horrible regular season coach but a good post-season coach. After Game 1 Paul Pierce said Wittman’s pre-game speech was “inspiring.” Randy must have delivered another masterful sermon before Game 2, because for the second year in a row Washington opened its first-round series with back-to-back road wins.

And Game 2 was won the Wittman way. Kyle Weidie detailed the second quarter scoring explosion led by Bradley Beal that turned a 37-31 deficit into a 60-49 halftime lead, but it was Washington’s punishing, relentless, turnover-creating defense that fed the beast. It was during that decisive second quarter run that the Wizards players finally realized they are more talented, more physical and hungrier than their Raptors counterparts. You could see their confidence growing with each possession and the tide finally turned for good with 3:45 remaining in the second quarter and Washington having just taken a 48-45 lead.

That’s when one play, more than any other, demonstrated Washington’s physical advantage over Toronto. Greivis Vasquez walked the ball over half-court and attempted an ill-conceived pick-and-roll with James Johnson. Wall slid under the pick and Pierce flailed his arms into the passing lane and batted the ball high into the air, where it appeared to hang for a couple seconds in suspended animation. Vasquez gathered himself to jump off of two feet, but it was too late. Wall had already marked his prey and effortlessly leapt over and through Greivis, grabbed the ball, and sailed by for a thunderous two-handed slam. Vasquez could only jog in Wall’s wake and dejectedly inbound the ball. This was Toronto’s fate all night.

Sure, the Raptors managed a second-half run, as NBA teams are wont to do. But Toronto’s last-gasp 12-3 run to start the third quarter (which cut the deficit to two) only served as a backdrop for Washington to assert its dominance once again with a blitzing 34-14 run to end the period, punctuated by the most entertaining two minutes and 30 seconds of Wizards basketball all season.

Remember when I said the play where Wall jumped over Vasquez for the loose ball was the perfect representation of Washington’s dominance? I lied. There cannot be a better display of defensive and offensive superiority than what John Wall did in the 17 seconds of game time from 2:25 to 2:08 remaining in the third quarter.

First, Wall found himself as the only defender against a DeMar DeRozan-Lou Williams two-on-one fast break. No problem. Wall casually jogged toward DeRozan and then reversed course when DeMar pushed the ball ahead to Williams for a driving layup attempt. Wall sprung into the air and floated for a second, waiting for Williams to release his shot, which he emphatically swatted straight down, keeping the ball in play and directing it into the hands of Ramon Sessions.

Sessions tossed the ball ahead to Wall and he paused at half-court for a moment as an embarrassed and slightly agitated Lou Williams pressured Wall 40 feet from the basket. That’s a bad idea. Wall spun right, picked up a head of steam, drove straight at Amir Johnson’s chest, absorbed the contact, and hit a bank shot from an impossible angle as he fell to the ground. Dwane Casey picked up a technical foul for arguing god-knows-what, and Wall hit that free throw plus his and-1 from the Johnson foul.

As if that sequence was not enough, Washington followed it up with an improbable and very un-Wizards-like back-to-back-to-back-to-back 3-point barrage from Sessions, Wall, Drew Gooden, and Otto Porter. When the third quarter buzzer sounded, Washington sported a 22-point lead. You cannot draw up a better two minutes and 25 seconds of basketball.

I’d be lying once again if I said the fourth quarter was never in doubt. When Vasquez hit a 3-pointer with 3:23 remaining to cut Washington’s lead to ten, every Wizards fan entertained some very dark thoughts. But those demons were quickly put to rest with a pretty pick-and-roll finish from Wall to Marcin Gortat, resulting in a 3-point play.

While John Wall’s 3-pointer over Patrick Patterson with 1:08 remaining earned Steve Buckhantz’s “dagger,” it was Gortat’s basket (see above) that truly sealed the win.

With 44 seconds remaining and the game in hand, the television cameras panned outside the stadium to Maple Leaf Square, aka Jurassic Park, which only boasted a spattering of fans. Right before the producer cut away, the camera lights turned off. A fitting end to the night.

The Bullets

  • Game 2 marked the birth of Angry Brad. On several occasions the cameras caught Beal mean-muggin’ and dropping F-bombs. During his half-time interview with Chris Miller, Beal said the Raptors think the Wizards are punks. Hide the kids, Big Panda is agitated.
  • As well as Otto played in Game 1, he was even better on Tuesday night. Porter has adopted Trevor Ariza’s role as swiss-army knife on defense, which is a blessing because Washington does not have any other bench player who can cover Toronto’s talented guards. Otto led the team in plus/minus differential at plus-17 in 35 minutes.
  • Washington won the rebounding battle in Game 2 by a margin of 45-28 and holds an overall series rebounding advantage of 106-76.

 

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Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.