Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce was overheard saying that he didn’t want to go through customs again after their Game 2 victory in Tornoto, he and his teammates made sure that wouldn’t be an issue as they dispatched the Raptors in four games. Washington completed the sweep with a decisive 125-94 victory on their home court, hitting 15 of 26 three pointers as a team.
At the start of this series, Otto Porter was listed as the x-factor for the Wizards and he made a great impact in this series. Porter played a little over 19 minutes a game in the regular season, bouncing in and out of the rotation depending on the month. In this year’s first round against Toronto, Otto played in all four games and averaged 34 minutes a game. In those minutes, he was extremely productive, extremely active. His activity and length on both ends of the floor definitely helped Washington. He moves extremely well without the ball, his ability to read a defense and cut helped space the floor on offense. His length, allowed him to bother DeMarr DeRozan on several occasions. Porter shot %50 from the floor and 37% from deep while scoring 10 points and pulling down seven rebounds a game, he also averaged a little more than a steal a game. His addition into the playoff rotation can certainly help Washington going forward.
Paul Pierce’s impact was also evident, his veteran leadership showed up time after time. Especially in the games in Toronto, hitting some huge shots to ease the pressure off of his younger teammates. Averaging 16 points a game while shooting an impressive 53% from the field and 55% from beyond the arc. His confidence was infectious, no better case than in Bradley Beal.
The Wizards shooting guard showed a new side, an ‘angry’ side as he seemed to take his matchup extremely serious. He implied that there was some heavy talking coming from Toronto during a halftime interview. ‘Angry’ Beal was fun to watch, as he was much more aggressive than usual. While he didn’t shoot the ball well from a percentage standpoint, Beal played a huge role in this series as he averaged 20 points and just under seven rebounds.
Toronto definitely wasn’t the same team Washington faced in the regular season, but Washington wasn’t the same team the Raptors faced in the regular season either. Kyle Lowry struggled mightily this series, getting in foul trouble almost every game and also suffering from back issues. Toronto isn’t nearly as dangerous without a healthy, productive Lowry.
The Wizards learned something about themselves, well something they already knew, their team is much better when Gortat is involved. The polish big man had a great series, 16 points and just under 10 rebounds a game with two blocks. He, along with the rest of the Washington bigs were dominant in this series. Something Washington will need to continue as they go forward this postseason.
Last, but not least, John Wall. The two time All-Star point guard struggled with his own shot, but was masterful in creating opportunities for his teammates. Washington’s floor general averaged 13 assists this series, really orchestrating that offense at a high level. Despite his shooting struggles, Wall still averaged 18 points a game.
The Wizards are waiting on the winner of the Atlanta Hawks-Brooklyn Nets series, Atlanta currently leads 2-1. No matter who they’ll face, it’ll be a much different Washington team from the regular season.