Quick Links

Wizards knew Cavs were going to shoot threes, but couldn't stop it

Wizards knew Cavs were going to shoot threes, but couldn't stop it

The Wizards played the defending-champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night to a dead-even tie in almost every statistical category except one, and that part of the game was cited over and over by Washington in recent days heading into their matchup. They knew the Cavs were going to shoot a lot of threes, yet they could not stop that effort.

On Friday, the Cavaliers made less shots (36) than the Wizards (38). They shot for a lower percentage (41.9 to 43.7). The teams tied in assists (16), turnovers (15) and personal fouls (21). But Cleveland ran away with this one in the fourth quarter and finished with a 105-94 victory that saw both benches emptied in garbage time.

That's because the Cavs made 14 threes on 34 attempts, far more than the Wizards, who sank just three on 15 tries. Having Bradley Beal out with a hamstring injury limited their own effort from long range, but defending the three was a fruitless exercise in the defeat.

"We were doing a great job getting stops and getting out there in transition against the bigs," point guard John Wall said. "Then we kind of went away from that and they started to get open and made a lot of threes."

The Cavaliers entered Friday with more three point attempts per game than any other team. They can roll multiple lineups with long range shooters all over the court. Their guards shoot threes. LeBron James shoots threes. Even their big men can shoot; Kevin Love, Mike Dunleavy and Channing Frye, in particular.

James went 3-for-4 from three. J.R. Smith went 5-for-9. Kyrie Irving went 4-for-9, and Frye went 2-for-4. Those four combined to shoot 54 percent (14-for-26) from long range.

"They make you average defensively from the three-point line," head coach Scott Brooks said. "There was many times tonight they had five three-point shooters on the floor. They made just about the same amount of three's that we attempted, but that’s how they play."

It's not just the shooters themselves; the Cavaliers run an offense through James and Irving that sets up open looks. Both can penetrate, and both can pass.

The Wizards have not been good at defending the three-point shot in general this season. Only the Dallas Mavericks have allowed opponents to shoot higher than the 39 percent teams have shot against the Wizards from downtown.

It's a weakness, and the Cavaliers are perfectly designed to exploit it.

[RELATED: Takeaways from Wizards' loss to Cavaliers]

Quick Links

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

USA Today Sports Images

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Death Row D.C. and the Wizards are back

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller were joined by Julie Donaldson to break down the Wizards' wins in Games 3 and 4.

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat are back and the Wizards are a different team because of it. Plus, how regaining their Death Row D.C. mentality has changed this series.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

Quick Links

Another 40-point third quarter evens another playoff series for the Wizards

Another 40-point third quarter evens another playoff series for the Wizards

Last night's Washington Wizards comeback would not have happened had it not been for the team's blowout third quarter. 

Of course, you can say that literally about any quarter, but if you take away the third, the Toronto Raptors outscored Washington easily, 78-66.

The Wizards won by eight and this wasn’t the first time we’ve seen a performance of this magnitude from this bunch.

In that frame alone in Game 4, the Wizards broke out to 40 points, the same amount they had in the first two quarters combined. As a team, they shot 65 percent and 83 percent from deep (5-for-6).

By far that was their best offensive quarter of this series.

Of course, Bradley Beal got his due, 12 points including three three-pointers, but for the first time this series, Otto Porter Jr. became a threat on the offensive end of the court.

The 6-8 forward scored 10 of his 12 points, all of which came in a 26-14 run. First, he started with back-to-back three-pointers, both in the tail end of a transition, both a feed from John Wall. One came from the corner and the other came off of a screen that ended up being a close contest from OG Anunoby.

That run resulted in the Wizards’ first lead of the game from a corner three courtesy of Beal.

Speaking of Anunoby, he was silent in that quarter for the Raptors. Granted in the first half he was taken off the court after getting pinned under Marcin Gortat, but the Raptors’ guard played for nine minutes and the only thing he recorded on the stat sheet was a foul.

Serge Ibaka, who has also been a pain in the Wizards’ side also disappeared. One rebound, two points from the free throw line, and one block was all that the 6-10 forward managed. With Porter on the court and producing, it pushed Ibaka to set up outside the paint, clearing the lane for Wall to generate movement on the offense.

All this being said, Toronto actually didn’t have a bad quarter. They shot 50 percent from the field and DeMar DeRozan had 14 points.

But the Wizards were simply better. They out-shot one of the best all-around offensive teams in the league.

Rolling with the punches in transition, not passing up open looks, Wall dealing out six assists; that is the Wizards’ team that knocked off some of the top teams in the NBA this year. No one shot more than five times in the quarter and the team combined for 10 assists on the 15 made baskets.

They erased a 14-point deficit and were tied at 80 heading into the fourth.

If you look back to the last 40-point playoff quarter for Washington, there are many parallels. It was another series where the Wizards were down 0-2 to the Celtics. They were dealing with an offensive driven team and the physicality became a prevalent story in the series.

Had it not been for those 12 minutes of basketball, the Wizards would be down 3-1 and face an insurmountable climb to get back into their First Round series. Now they are at a fresh slate in a best-of-3 series. With all the momentum, Washington is just two wins away from getting back to the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs.

Hopefully, this time is a little different than the last.