Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 24 points and DeMar DeRozan added 16 as the Raptors beat the Wizards 102-92 and close out the series in Washington. Bradley Beal (32 points) and John Wall (23 points) combined to score 55 of Washington’s 92 points but like other games in this series, a third scorer never emerged to help carry the load.
The Wizards jumped on the Raptors 20-9 to start this game and it looked very well like we’d be heading back to Toronto for a Game 7.
Washington started the game 7-9 from the field and 3-3 from distance as they were clearly boosted by the home cooking. Toronto’s bench, which has been a strength for them all season long, came in at the beginning of the second quarter and was able to trim Washington’s lead to one, 34-33 at the blink of an eye.
The Wizards could have built this lead out to double-digits but there was a huge momentum swing in the Raptors favor to end the quarter. John Wall found a cutting Marcin Gortat who was swatted at the rim and in turn, ending in a three-pointer for the Raptors on the other end. Next time down, Bradley Beal threw an alley-oop pass to Wall that was just out of his reach resulting in another turnover. Again, the Raptors hit a three the next time down.
Rather than being up double-digits, Washington led by just three, 53-50 at halftime.
Bradley Beal carried the Wizards in the third quarter where he scored 12 of his 32 points. Beal was attacking the hole, getting to the line, and knocking down timely three-pointers for the Wizards.
After losing the lead, Washington looked to regain the momentum as Tomas Satoransky tipped in a Beal miss with time expiring as the Wizards led 78-73 entering the fourth quarter.
But then, everything fell apart. The Wizards looked tired and uninterested (more on that in a bit) in the fourth quarter and as a result, got blown out 29-14 in the final period.
Washington losses 102-92 and it’s finally time to stick a fork in this disappointing and frustrating season.
Washington falls apart again in the fourth quarter
The Wizards held a 78-73 lead entering the fourth quarter and had the momentum – but that’s when things started to fall apart. The Raptors, starting the period with all five reserves and outscored the Wizards playing four of their starters 10-2 to start the period.
Washington’s offense came to a screeching halt in the fourth quarter. The Wizards showed no energy to start the period and looked just as gassed as they did in the fourth quarter of Game 5. Washington built out the lead in the first half by getting out in transition but that all disappeared in the fourth quarter. On top of that, John Wall stopped driving to the hole and the Wizards reverted back to their bad habits in turning the ball over on lazy passes.
Toronto didn’t reinsert their starters until there were just over five minutes to play and even then, the reserves had already brought the team back. Kyle Lowry was excellent tonight and iced this game on two drives to the hole and finishing over Gortat to put the Raptors up 92-85 to bury the Wizards.
Washington, who held a five-point lead entering the fourth quarter, was outscored 29-14 in the final period.
They are who we thought they were
For a team who has blown countless fourth-quarter leads this season, we were crazy to think that bad habit amongst others would change once the playoffs started. Reminiscent of too many games in the past, the Wizards reverted to hero-ball, the opposite of everyone eats, for the entire fourth quarter and to no surprise, the predictable offense didn’t fool anyone.
From an outsider’s perspective, if I had told you in the fourth quarter that this was an elimination game, you wouldn’t have believed me. Washington committed 14 turnovers tonight, which isn’t terrible, but many of them came in the fourth quarter. What’s worse is, too many were of the live-ball variety leading to easy layups or wide-open shots in transition for the Raptors.
Lastly, a third scorer never emerged for the Wizards and they had no legs to close the game. Dennis Smith infamously said: “We are who they thought we were” and shame on us for thinking otherwise about this Wizards’ team.
A very important offseason looms
Here we are. The Wizards, a tax team for the first time in recent memory underachieved with just a 43-39 regular season record and got bounced in the first round by the one-seed, Toronto Raptors. Yes, injuries played a huge part in this season but there were so many other factors that played into this disappointment of a season. Poor roster construction, questionable coaching moves, locker room tension; you name it.
Will Ernie Grunfeld be around for much longer? Have we seen the last game of the Wall, Beal, and Porter trio? There are a lot of questions for a franchise that suddenly finds itself at a crossroads. And if the Wizards to plan on taking that next step, change must come.