Truth Hurts: That's Why They Brought Him Here | Wizards Blog Truth About

Truth Hurts: That’s Why They Brought Him Here

Updated: April 25, 2015

[Wizards, Raptors, 2015 NBA Playoffs, 1st Round, Game 3, Washington, D.C. –> TAI’s Troy Haliburton (@TroyHalibur) with the rapid reaction.]

There was much ado about nothing concerning Drake and some sort of mysterious pre-game press conference that never happened before Game 2 in Toronto. And then that same Drake could only give the humble “dap” of approval to “The Truth” after the Wizards put on a show, stealing the first two games on the road.

…Which led to a Toronto City Council member taking to twitter to express his disdain for Drake rubbing elbows with the enemy.

In other celebrity news, local D.C. rapper Wale, who was named “creative liaison” of the Wizards in an official pre-season team press release, was conspicuously absent from the tip (and the pre-game video).

But Drake was in attendance, and received a not-so warm welcome in the Phone Booth

Now that we’ve far exceeded our celebrity gossip quota for the night, let’s talk some hoops!

Starting Lineup Changes and the First-Quarter DeMar DeRozan Show

Dwane Casey finally decided to switch up his starting lineup by inserting Amir Johnson over Tyler Hansbrough, who failed to give the Raptors a lift in the first two games. The lineup shift was most designed to give the Raptors an offensive kick, sacrificing some defense and rebounding to maybe even counter Washington’s newfound court-spreading ways.

The Wizards seemed to start with a nice, efficient offensive rhythm, but the real star of the first quarter was Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who put on an isolation display and torched the Wizards for 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Unlike the first two games, which seemed to be allergic to offense, this game was fast-paced from the start. Despite the Raptors’ hot shooting, the Wizards only trailed 35-33 at the end of the first quarter.

Slight Chance of Drizzle and a Well-Oiled Polish Machine

With the Raptors scoring the first four points of the second quarter and increasing their lead to 40-33, it appeared as if they were poised to take control of the game, but Drew Gooden came off the bench with the hot hand. A clutch 3-pointer and few crafty rebounds kept the Wizards’ offense afloat until Wall came back in and was finally able to get himself going. Wall was the catalyst that sparked an 9-0 run to take the Wiz from down 42-37 to up 46-42 with 5:07 left in the quarter. During that span, Wall hit four free throws, a driving layup, and assisted on a Marcin Gortat layup.

The Wall to Gortat show seemed to be a frequent occurrence during a 21-8 run that allowed the Wizards to take a 54-48 lead heading into halftime. Gortat finished the first half going 8-for-10 from the field for 17 points, five rebounds, and even three assists.

Other First Half Notes

Otto Porter contributed beyond the box score. DeRozan scorched the Wizards for 20 first-quarter points, and then Otto drew the assignment of chasing him around and limited him to 0-for-4 shooting and only two points in the second.

Kevin Seraphin seems to be squeezed out of the Wizards rotation, not making a first-half appearance despite two fairly decent showings in Toronto.

Gortat and Nene spoon-feeding each other layups is far from a thing of beauty, but entertaining nonetheless.

Sloppy, Sloppy Third Quarter

The Wizards started out the quarter with a few senseless fouls that got the Raptors into the bonus with 7:23 left. Instead of stepping on the Raptors’ throat and putting them out of their misery in their most vulnerable state, the Wizards wasted four straight possessions starting at the 8-minute mark with horrendous turnovers that only shifted the momentum in favor of the DinoDrakes.

While the first half included a number of pretty Wall dimes, the third quarter consisted of the ball sticking to Wall’s hands too many times; the offense became predictable and stagnant in the quarter. The Raptors outscored the Wizards 22-18 in the third and stayed within two points of the home team heading to the fourth quarter.

3&D Otto Porter

Otto Porter and Drew Gooden appear to be leading the charge in the #EffortMetrics department. Both fought for loose balls and played defense that seems invoke emotion from their teammates.

Not only did Otto bust his ass on the defensive end, but he might have hit the two biggest shots of his life when he connected on a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. These were followed by a Paul Pierce 3 to extend Washington’s lead to eight and, together, ultimately provided the dagger. It was Porter’s confidence in his shot that really surprised the Wizards faithful. If Porter can continue to display all of the positive characteristics of the quintessential 3&D player, the trajectory of this Wizards team could really change. Porter’s athleticism is a much needed addition on perimeter defense, his rebounding acumen is constantly adding extra possessions, and his improved jump shot directly contributes to proper floor spacing for John Wall.

“That’s Why I’m Here”

Paul Pierce has proven to be a bad man and his “The Truth” moniker seems to be just as fitting now as ever before, even at 37 years old. Pierce finished the fourth quarter with 10 very crucial points on 3-for-3 shooting and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. With the game very much in doubt and 16 seconds left, Pierce’s final, late-game 3 might have been the final nail in the coffin for this Raptors team. Washington was able to overcome going 22-for-31 from the free throw line and committing a playoff-high 17 turnovers.

That was the type of shot that will go a long way in ensuring that Pierce will not have to go back through customs.


Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. Bylines on bylines on bylines.

Will write for food.