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.
The Wizards scored 40 points in the 3rd quarter. That's their biggest playoff quarter since last year when they went on a 26-0 run against the Celtics in Game 4. They scored 42 points then, also in the third.— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) April 23, 2018
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.
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