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Fast break: Wizards close out Raptors with most lopsided win


Fast break: Wizards close out Raptors with most lopsided win

The saying goes that closing out a team, particularly in a series sweep, is the toughest game of them all. Sunday, the Wizards made it look easy as they led from start to finish in a 125-94 victory vs. the Toronto Raptors in Game 4. 

It's the first seven-game series sweep in franchise history and ended the NBA's longest run without a series sweep at 36.

The Wizards shot 71.4% in the first quarter when they led by as many as 16 points with all starters scoring at least five points. The Wizards made 13 of 15 foul shots, the Raptors never could get into any kind of offensive flow to get back or defend any actions

Bradley Beal led seven scorers in double figures with 23 points, Marcin Gortat had 21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists and John Wall added 14 points and 10 assists. Paul Pierce had 14 points, Nene 10 and Ramon Sessions had his best game of the series with 15 points and two assists. Drew Gooden scored 13 points and Otto Porter seven points and seven rebounds. 

TURNING POINT: The Raptors trimmed the deficit to 38-30 on consecutive three-pointers from Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez, but the Wizards responded with a 15-3 run with Beal scoring seven. They entered the half up 66-50.

NUMBERS GAME: The Wizards shot 41-for-74 from the field, or 55.4%, including 15-for-26 from three-point range for 57.7% and had a 42-37 edge in rebounds and 27-11 in fast-break points.

UNSTOPPABLE: Gortat shot 8-for-9 from the field to finish the series 29-for-39, or 74.3%. The Raptors had no answers for him rolling to the basket. Gortat made all five of his first-half shot attempts and ran the floor so fluidly that even the smaller Raptors couldn't keep up. 

INVISIBLE: Vasquez, a spark off the bench for the Raptors for the regular season, was a non-factor all series. The former University of Maryland star shot 11-for-29 overall. But he never made more than two three-pointers in any game nor did he score more than 11 points. 

CONTENTIOUS: This game was chippy. Nene became entangled with Lowry just 2:01 into the start as both fell out of bounds. It was kept a common foul by Nene upon review. But Lowry was frustrated by early foul trouble again. He was given three in the first quarter. The second one led to a technical foul at 6:27 when Wall drew contact in transition that probably should've been a no-call. Lowry threw a hard chest pass with the ball at the official as they went into a timeout. The third foul came a little more than a minute later when Beal got Lowry off his feet with a pump fake and jumped into him. Tyler Hansbrough was given a Flagrant 1 foul after he took down Sessions with a hard foul in the paint. 

BETTER START: This is a much better start for Wall after what he went through last year in his inaugural postseason appearance. The Wizards won that first-round series with the Chicago Bulls despite Wall shooting 26 of 74, or 35.1%, in those five games for 16.2 points and averaging only 7.6 assists. Wall wrapped up these four games only slightly better at 21-for-54, or 38.8%, but his overall floor game was superior. Wall averaged 12.5 assists per game. After not attempting a foul shot in Game 1, Wall made 28 trips to the free-throw line to manufacture his offense and keep Lowry in foul trouble. To score his 14 points Sunday, he only attempted five shots. 

UP NEXT: The Wizards likely won't practice much Monday, if at all, though they will be preparing for their opponent in the next round, Brooklyn or Atlanta.

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It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

The Wizards crossed off an important goal on Saturday night by beating the Indiana Pacers and therefore securing the season series. If the teams tie with the same regular season record, the Wizards will get the higher playoff seed. As of today, that would mean home court advantage in the first round.

Though the Wizards have beaten the Pacers in two of their three matchups this season, we only know so much about how they would match up in the playoffs. The first game between them didn't feature Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo and John Wall didn't play in any of the three games. The Pacers were without both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis on Saturday night.

Given the Pacers underwent so much change over the summer, there is no real data to go off of from before this season. They are a completely different team with Oladipo leading the way and Paul George now in Oklahoma City.


There are reasons to believe, however, that the Wizards would fare well against the Pacers over the course of a seven-game series. For one, they figured out how to slow Oladipo and his teammate Bojan Bogdanovic on Saturday night. Both had killed the Wizards in previous matchups.

Oladipo was held to 18 points, over five points below his season average of 23.5. He had four turnovers, shot 7-for-16 (43.7%) and finished a -18 in a game the Pacers lost by seven.

The Wizards had some success with Tomas Satoransky guarding Oladipo. Satoransky is 6-foot-7 with long arms. He was able to recover on several occasions to alter Oladipo's shots.

Satoransky and Bradley Beal also did a good job keeping pace with Oladipo on the fastbreak. The Pacers had only four fastbreak points in the game. Oladipo is especially dangerous in the open court.

“We just made sure that we were aggressive with him and made sure he saw a lot of bodies in the paint," Beal said. "The last game, he got a lot of easy ones in transition. We just made sure that we got back on the shot, loaded to the ball and forced the other guys to attack.”

For Bogdanovic, it was about limiting open shots from the perimeter. Bogdanovic had 11 points, three below his season average and had four turnovers. Beal and Otto Porter stripped Bogdanovic for steals and Marcin Gortat took a charge on one play in the third quarter.


But it was all about taking away the outside shot. Bogdanovic only hit one shot in the first half and it was a three. The only reason he got it off is because Kelly Oubre, Jr. lost his balance backing up. That gave Bogdanovic the window he needed. Otherwise, Oubre helped frustrate the former Wizards small forward. So did Gortat and Ian Mahinmi, who did a good job covering their teammates off screens.

The Pacers are an average offensive team, ranking 16th in points per game and 14th in offensive rating. They are better defensively, ranking ninth-best in opponents points per game and 12th in defensive efficiency.

If the Wizards can limit Oladipo and Bogdanovic, the Pacers' two leading scorers, they should have a good shot at beating the Pacers in the playoffs. Beyond them, the Pacers are thin in the scoring department. Turner only averages 13.6 points and no one else beyond him can consistently make an opposing defense pay for mistakes. Conversely, several Wizards players have given the Pacers major trouble through three games this season.

Gortat, who had 18 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, has averaged 13 points and eight rebounds on 57.7 percent shooting against Indiana. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who had 16 points in 18 minutes, has averaged 15.5 points and is shooting 50 percent from the field.


In addition to those guys, Markieff Morris, Porter, Mike Scott, Mahinmi and Satoransky are all shooting over 50 percent against the Pacers. Satoransky is shooting 71.4 percent through three games.

The Wizards have the pieces to counter what the Pacers do best. Indiana is seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wizards are the best team in basketball in opponents three-point percentage. The Pacers are built around an All-Star guard, but the Wizards have two All-Star guards. The Pacers have a collection of talented wing players, but so do the Wizards.

"Hypothetically, I do like Indiana," Beal said. "I like how we match up with Indiana and I feel like there is a lot of stuff that we can take advantage of. In a lot of categories, I think we can win them."

Add it all up and the Wizards have every reason to feel confident if they see the Pacers in the posteason. Keep that in mind because they very well could meet up in the spring.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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