11 thoughts from the Wizards Game 3 106-99 win over Toronto.
1. Strange game. After a red-hot flawless offensive start by both teams in the first quarter, the game turned into an ugly-at-times grind the rest of the way until a flurry of big shots by Porter & Pierce down the stretch.
2. Pierce closes it out. Pierce’s 2nd quarter in Game 1 and his 4th quarter tonight are the two most memorable moments of this series. His 11 pts tonight in the final quarter included 3 threes, the last of which was a true Buckhantz dagger to make it 105-99. No matter how discombobulated he can appear to be at times (and he was tonight early), he’s the ultimate killer-closer with the game on the line.
3. Otto Porter is really feeling it. Otto Porter gained a level of confidence in Game 3 that carried over into tonight. He’s a different guy the last two games. His defense on DeRozan was very good. I doubt Wittman will do it but he may want to think about starting Porter in Game 4 to prevent another quick scoring start for DeRozan. His two threes in the 4th quarter were massive especially the three after Ross had tied the game at 88-88 with a 3-pointer. If you watched him all season long, the fact that he took those threes let alone made them is major progress. I stand by what I’ve said on the show about him. He does a lot of things well, nothing great. With that said, his defense in particular has been great in this series. He’s been a major plus and he’s a big reason they’re up 3-zip.
4. Gooden’s lift. Down 9 late in the 1st quarter, Drew Gooden entered the game and made three 3-pointers over a 5-minute stretch lasting into the 2nd quarter and the Wizards took a 4-point lead. He finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, and several hustle plays that can’t be measured statistically. He did all of that in just 18 minutes.
5. Rough in 3 areas. First, the pace wasn’t good for most of the 3rd quarter and some of the 4th. The Wizards have to stay up-tempo or they will struggle offensively. Second, 17 turnovers is too many especially when many of them are a result of bad decisions and a casual approach. Third, Toronto’s full-court pressure bothered the Wizards at the end of the game. Surprised they didn’t screen a little more to get somebody open or use Gortat as an inbounds pass outlet.
6. Wall to Gortat. 18 of Marcin Gortat’s 24 points were assisted by Wall. I thought Gortat was almost too unselfish at times in the 4th quarter. He could’ve had another 6-8 pts if he didn’t give up the ball.
7. How many of you knew.…that if you get fouled before the shot clock expires but score as part of a continuation play after the shot clock expires, that the basket counts? I didn’t know that. When Gortat got fouled by DeRozan before the shot clock expired, I just figured the made shot, which clearly came after the clock expired, wouldn’t count and the Wizards would keep the ball with a reset shot clock.
8. DeRozan’s night. He started 8 for 10 with 20 in the first quarter….he went 3 for 19 the rest of the way. Porter gets most of the credit for slowing him down.
9. Wall’s night. Not as good as Game 2 but still exceptional. He went for 19 points and 15 assists and consistently set his teammates up for easy shot attempts. Unlike Game 2 though, he didn’t shoot it as well from the perimeter and his five turnovers were more of the unforced variety. Still, an elite point guard playoff performance.
10. Block party. The Wizards blocked 13 shots tonight. Gortat had 4, Gooden and Beal 3 each. There’s been a ton of talk over this past season about the lack of athletic “bigs” on the roster and that’s true to a certain extent. However, the Wizards do have legit rim protectors in Nene, Gortat, and yes, Gooden who is a clever defender in the paint.
11. The series is over. No team has ever come back from 3-zip down. The Wizards will close it out with a sweep on Sunday.