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.