Wizards Show the Resolve of a Contender in Game 4 Comeback Win | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards Show the Resolve of a Contender in Game 4 Comeback Win

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Updated: April 23, 2018

If “Bully-Ball” was the best way to describe Washington’s Game 3 win, then the Game 4 victory was a testament to their skill. Washington pulled out a much needed win, 106-98, because of its great execution in the third quarter to get back in the game and the resolve of John Wall to close it out after Bradley Beal fouled out with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Wizards were able to score 40 points in the third, matching their point total for the entire first half, by showcasing the adept skill level that makes this team one of the more dangerous eight seeds in recent memory. Otto Porter was the catalyst for the third quarter run, opening up the frame with eight quick points, including two 3-pointers, to get the Wizards back in the game after facing a 14-point deficit early in the period. Wall, who set up Porter on a few of those shots, made some poignant comments after the game about Otto’s aggressiveness:

“OP is just being OP. He’s really quiet, laid back. We just try to tell OP that we run a lot of plays, ‘floppy’ and all those types of plays for Brad [Beal], but if you have the opportunity to come open, be open and be ready to shoot. I think he seen one or two go in early and he came out aggressive and making shots for us. That’s the key to our team. A lot of teams try to double team and get the ball out of me and Brad’s hands, and to have a guy like that that is spotted up on the opposite side of the court, that can definitely shoot the ball and make plays for himself, that’s a great bonus for us.”

A ‘floppy’ play is a common set run by NBA teams in which a known shooter comes off a pin-down screen on the weak-side of the floor and is expected to be ready to shoot. Otto Porter was ready to fire away in the second half when his number was called on a few of those sets because Toronto has made a concerted effort all series to load up on the strong side again Wall and Beal. Porter has not been as aggressive as many members of Wizards faithful would like, but in Game 4 he showed the confidence and skillset that got him paid “max” money last summer. In the third quarter, Porter shot 4-for-4 from the field and scored 10 of his 12 points after only scoring 29 points in games 1 thru 3 combined.

Otto’s positive contribution wasn’t just limited to what he did on the offensive end, he was a key contributor to slowing down DeMar DeRozan in the second half. Porter was able to use his length and above average foot speed to keep up with DeRozan and make sure that all of his shots are highly contested. The biggest key for Porter defending DeRozan was staying down on his myriad of pump fakes and not fouling. DeRozan shot 18 free throws against the Wizards for the game, including an astronomical 12 free throws in the first quarter alone. If Otto can continue to play at this level, his poise and experience will give him a big advantage over his small forward counterpart, rookie OG Anunoby.

Will the Real “Playoff P” Please Standup?

Porter may have jump-started the comeback in the third quarter, but Beal was the steady rock throughout the night that buoyed the Wizards’ offense when it looked like the ship may be sinking. Big Panda finished with 31 points and more than half of his points came from finding his 3-point stroke. Beal hit five of his seven 3-point attempts and was able to space the floor in a way that allowed John Wall and Marcin Gortat to run their two-man game to perfection. Coming into this season, Beal had made it a trend of increasing his points per game average from the regular season to the post-season in each of his three years of playoff basketball. This year, however, Brad had seen his points per game average drop from 22.5 ppg in the regular season to just 18 ppg in the playoffs. Once Beal saw Otto get it going in the beginning of the third quarter, he decided to join the party and added 12 points of his own on 3-for-4 shooting from the field, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.

Beal was only shooting 35 percent from 3 over the first three games of this series, but his five 3-point makes were key to allowing the Wizards to erase a double-digit halftime deficit. Beal is a match-up problem for the Raptors because they have elected not to have DeRozan guard him for a lot of possessions, which allows Beal to take advantage of lesser experienced players such as Anunoby or Delon Wright. Brad was shaping up to have the picture perfect night up until he fouled out in the fourth quarter while the outcome was still very much in doubt.

Brad’s sixth personal foul was questionable at best, but he picked up two careless fouls before that critical play, which made him susceptible to fouling out in the first place. The fourth foul was an extremely emotional play for Beal as he fouled a rebounder on a play where he had no legitimate shot at the ball. That foul was out of frustration because Beal had missed a wide open 3 that would have given the Wizards a three-point lead. While emotions led him to commit the foul, those same emotions also fueled his scoring spree. When asked about how he felt after fouling out and having to watch the team finish the game without him, Brad took the post-game media scrum through his gamut of emotions:

“When they initially called me for my sixth I was beyond emotional, beyond mad, frustrated. Pretty much any synonym you could add on that list. I honestly thought they were going to kick me out of the game I was so mad, but I was happy they didn’t do that. I just gathered my emotions, gathered my thoughts and told my team we were going to win, regardless. I knew if we still had John [Wall] in the game I loved our chances. He did a great job of leading the guys and icing the game with a nice jumper in the corner and getting stops. So, that was definitely a maturity level that I hit, and a face of adversity that I had to overcome, just gather myself and be a leader, being vocal and keeping everyone encouraged in the game.”

And oh boy did Brad keep his teammates encouraged throughout the end of the fourth quarter. Our good friends at NBC Sports Washington decided it would be a good idea to track Beal’s reactions during the final period as his teammates pulled away … and Playoff Panda delivered the goods:

This is the kind of excitement and support that makes people outside of D.C. wonder why it is that the narrative out of Washington’s camp is that these guys don’t like each other. Well, winning cures all and this may have been a completely different story if the Wizards had lost. They didn’t lose because they finally showed the type of resolve that was expected of them all season when they anointed themselves Eastern Conference contenders over the summer. Now that they have erased a two-game deficit and built some momentum heading into Game 5, maybe — just maybe — this team will prove to be better than their end of season mediocrity showed.


 

Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
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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.