Four Games + Four Wins = No More Raptors | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Four Games + Four Wins = No More Raptors

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Updated: April 27, 2015

The Wizards swept the Raptors, the Wizards swept the Raptors. It doesn’t exactly have the cachet or the gravitas of “The Giants Win The Pennant,” but for a city starved for a championship—or at least a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals—those words are quite significant.

The Wizards went 0-3 against the Toronto Raptors during the regular season. The first game in November was a 19-point drubbing, but the Wizards’ January 31 and February 11 losses were by four points (in overtime) and two points respectively. Despite those close games, the Raptors had every right to be the favorite. And now, after two games in Toronto and two games in Washington, the Wizards did not just defy the odds*, but they obliterated them, and the Raptors.

The numbers seem almost cartoonish in nature. The Wizards did not trail at any point during the game. They shot 71 percent in the first quarter, 44 percent in the second, 64 percent in the third, 57 percent in the fourth, and 55 percent for the game. They shot 57 percent (15-for-26) from the 3-point line and 82 percent from the foul line.

The second unit allowed the Wizards’ lead to dwindle to eight points with 10:08 left in the second quarter, but the sharp shooting of Otto Porter and Drew Gooden took that lead back to double-figures and the lead was never less than 11 points for the remainder of the night. Paul Pierce gets to avoid customs, Randy Wittman gets to keep his job, and, most importantly, the Washington Wizards get to rest while the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks go to battle for at least two more games.

The Nene Dance

Prior to last night, Nene averaged 22 minutes, eight points, eight rebounds and 0.66 free throw attempts a game. It wasn’t like he was ineffective, it was just that the lineup of Gortat at center and Pierce at the 4 was effective and seemed to keep Toronto on their heels. Wall, Beal, Pierce, and Gortat—all achieved some level of offensive brilliance in the first three games versus the Raptors—were able to find their offensive rhythm in that first quarter. But for the first time in the series, Nene was able to join them. He was physical, he got to the line four times, and he seemed determined to get his offensive game in motion. He finished with 10 points, four rebounds, and six fouls in 27 minutes of action, but his bullish play in the opening quarter seemed to buoy his teammates.

3rd Quarter Dominance

During the regular season, it was safe to say that no lead was large enough for the Wizards to lose. In the third quarter of Game 4, the Wizards led by 12 points, and halfway through the quarter that lead ballooned to 24 points. They shot a blistering 64 percent from the field (11-17) and an obscene 7-of-8 (87%) from the 3-point line. The Raptors shot just 44 percent from the field and 25 percent (2-8 from the 3-point line). Kyle Lowry was out of sync, DeRozan was unable to summon a 20-point-in-a-quarter outburst, and the Raptors as a whole looked frustrated and out of sync. By quarter’s end the Wizards led by 32 points and the game was no longer in doubt.

Adjusted Expectations

The Wizards lost the season regular series to the Raptors and were expected to lose the playoff series as well, but won in a sweep instead and are likely to take on the Atlanta Hawks in the second round. They had similar struggles against the Hawks during the regular season—they lost the season series 3-1 with the lone victory coming when Atlanta benched their starters. Just two weeks ago, the Wizards were barely expected to get out of round one because of their head-to-head records against the higher seeded Raptors. Now the Wizards have all five starters playing at an optimum level and a versatile array of lineups at their disposal (Pierce at the 4, Nene and Gortat, Beal and Sessions, Gooden, etc.), there’s no reason think the Wizards cannot continue to buck that regular season trend. For now, the Wizards can rest, relax, and pick apart every move the Hawks and Nets make in their series.

 


Pre-Series Exact Result Odds via @BovadaLV

Washington Wizards win 4-0                   15/1
Washington Wizards win 4-1                   17/2
Washington Wizards win 4-2                   9/2
Washington Wizards win 4-3                   13/2
Toronto Raptors win 4-0                         10/1
Toronto Raptors win 4-1                         4/1
Toronto Raptors win 4-2                         4/1
Toronto Raptors win 4-3                         10/3


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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.