It was all going so well for the Wizards in Game 5 on Wednesday night until just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. That's when their offense went from good enough to win to bad enough to alter a series and put their 2017-18 season on life support.
The Wizards head back to Washington down 3-2 and have only themselves to blame. From the 4:05 mark in the fourth quarter all the way until 16.2 seconds remining in the game, they did not score a single point. Meanwhile, the Raptors kept rolling and finished that stretch on a 14-5 run.
The Wizards missed 11 of their final 15 shots. They stopped moving the ball and moving off the ball and even some of their open shots clanged off the backboard or the rim.
It was a stunning display of offensive ineptitude from a team that was above average in scoring during the regular season.
"We just missed some shots," guard Bradley Beal said. "We feel like we got some good ones, especially down the stretch."
The Wizards managed 20 points in the fourth quarter and 15 came in the first 7:55 of the frame. That would put them on pace for a solid quarter. If they maintained that course, they may have won the game.
Instead, the fourth quarter amounted to a disaster and it cost them dearly. Teams that lose Game 5 to break a 2-2 tie have a 17.2 percent chance of winning the series, based on the league's history.
Otto Porter went scoreless and took one shot in the fourth quarter of Game 5. John Wall had two of his seven turnovers and shot 2-for-6.
"I had two crucial turnovers trying to split screens in the fourth quarter," Wall said. "Just bad reads on my part."
Beal shot 1-for-6 from the field and 1-for-4 from three. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who shot just 40.3 percent from the field during the regular season, took six shots in the fourth quarter, tied for most on the team. He made two of them and missed all three of his threes.
The Wizards had six of their 18 giveaways in the fourth. Though they outrebounded the Raptors 50-35 for the game, they were outdone 15-12 in the frame.
The Wizards' scoreless drought of three minutes and 49 seconds in the fourth quarter was perhaps foreshadowed by some problems with their offense early in the game. There were plenty of stretches characterized by bad shots, turnovers and a lack of passing.
The Wizards' 21 assists in Game 5 were their fewest in the playoffs so far.
"We need more ball movement," Beal said. "We need more player movement. We were way too stagnant."
The fourth quarter has been an issue all series. Only once, in Game 2, did they outscore the Raptors in the final frame.
The Wizards rank 14th out of 16 playoff teams in fourth quarter points (23.4/g) and dead-last with a 40.4 field goal percentage and 28.1 three point percentage.
This is a bit of a carryover from the regular season. Only five teams shot worse than the Wizards in the fourth quarter (43.7%) and only five teams allowed more points (26.5) to their opponents.
Washington has had issues closing games all year and throughout this series. Wednesday night was an extreme example and it has them just one loss away from elimination.
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