Another win and the Wizards are in the second round of the playoffs for the second season in a row, but despite the 3-0 lead vs. the Toronto Raptors this hasn't been easy. So what has to happen in tonight's Game 4 from Verizon Center to complete the first sweep in a seven-game series in franchise history (CSN, CSNwashington.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 6 p.m. ET)?
- Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan keep taking first-side, contested shots. The starting backcourt for the Raptors accounted for 51 of 99 attempts in a 106-99 loss in Game 3 Friday. They only made 16. DeRozan said afterwards that he thinks they were mostly good shots.
Paul Pierce: "I had a chance to watch DeMar grow from college. I always liked him. A California kid. I always try to follow the southern Los Angeles natives from the area I'm from. I expected him to come out hard like he had in the last two games. ... The good thing is one guy is scoring, we're limiting the other guys. We feel like one guy can't beat us. It takes everybody else out the game. We didn't get our head down. We focused on locking all the other guys down. If you look up after the first quarter they were only up two. That wasn't really a big concern when he got hot because that's what scorers do some nights. I've had nights like that where I've been hot as a young player. If I'm hot, that means other guys aren't touching the ball."
Drew Gooden: "You got to credit our wings, our perimeter players for containing those guys. That's a tough task. Brad (Beal) has done a phenomenal job. Otto Porter has done a phenomenal job. John Wall has done exceptionally well on Kyle Lowry."
- Slow starts to the third quarter cease. Friday, 10 of their 17 turnovers in the second half which is what gave the Raptors life.
John Wall: "In the third quarter of the last two games we haven't had great pace. That's how we let them back in the game by not building on our leads throughout the third quarter. We're doing a great job of closing out quarters, just keep our turnovers down and we'll be fine."
Coach Randy Wittman: "Seventeen is too many. I feel like we lost our pace a little bit from an offensive standpoint in the third quarter there."
- While the Raptors did a better job with rebounding with Amir Johnson in the starting lineup, they're still inadequate at minus-34 for the series.
Wall: "Guys are sacrificing, not complaining about calls, not worrying about who's getting the ball, everybody's rebounding as a group. That's the reason why we've won three games."
- Otto Porter.
Gooden: "I'm seeing him stepping up and that's what big-time players do in this atmosphere. They turn it up a notch in the playoffs. Otto has definitely done that for us. We're starting to see emotion from him. He's showing growth and we absolutely need that from a young player."
Wall: "I've seen Otto talk some junk in the first game. Surprising to see but I think he's getting into a comfort zone, getting out of his shell. ... When you play big minutes in the playoffs and you're playing well you want to keep it going."
- Playing in flow, rather than always slowing down the ball to make play calls, fits the small-ball lineup with Otto Porter and Paul Pierce on the floor simultaneously.
Wall: "We just run pick-and-roll, spread the court and not run too many isos. Where guys help from we try to find the right person. ... We see opportunities when Drew is at the four, or Paul. The opportunity for March or Nene or whoever is playing at the center position is to set screens and roll to the basket. If guys don't help they're finishing at the rim. If they do, they're leaving three-point shooters open and guys have been knocking down shots with confidence. That's spacing the court more for us."
Gooden: "The way we're playing with the court spread, (Gortat) and Nene, if they set a middle pick-and-roll and roll hard to the basket it's tough for the Raptors to rotate and stop them at the rim. They have limited shot blockers on their team so he has free range for getting back-to-back layups, getting dunks at will whenever we get (Gortat) the ball."