For the second time in as many years, The Washington Wizards are heading back home with a 2-0 first round series lead thanks to a 117-106 win over the Raptors in Toronto.
After the Wizards' veteran core of Paul Pierce, Nene and Marcin Gortat helped drag the Wizards to a close win in Game 1, the Wizards' young core of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter landed the decisive blows in Game 2, as all three players delivered the best playoff performances of their young careers.
And don't look now, but Randy Wittman is now 7-1 in road playoff games. Don't ask us how, but it is a real thing that has happened. You are not dreaming.
Here's what stuck out to us from the Wizards' win:
House of Guards takeover
John Wall and Bradley Beal combined to have a bit of a dud performance in Game 1, combining to go 11-41 from the field. And from the start of things in Game 2, it looked like they could be on track for more of the same in Game 2 as they settled for some bad jumpers early as the Raptors took control early.
When they reentered the game in the second quarter, they went on the type of run fans envisioned when the Wizards drafted Beal to play alongside Wall. John Wall was getting wherever he wanted on the court and hitting tough shots, finishing with 26 points and 17 assists. He was a force on the defensive end as well. If you're looking for a six second sequence that summed up his night, here you go:
John Wall is my point guard!!! #Tenacinator #WizRaptors #dcrising https://t.co/Is3imTPqZE— Albert L. (@aleeinthedmv) April 22, 2015
Bradley Beal also played like a man possessed tonight. The Raptors knocked the chip off Beal's shoulder during the game, and once they did, Beal would not let them forget it. The docile Beal who routinely passed up threes for safer-feeling midrange shots was replaced by the fearless gunner we've been waiting to see since he entered the NBA. He finished with 28 points on 12-21 shooting, including 2-5 from beyond the arc.
Playoff Otto is a thing
If you were hoping Otto Porter would continue to follow down Tayshaun Prince's career path with a breakout playoff performance, you may have gotten your wish. He had a great night scoring, with 15 points on 6-8 shooting, but don't get caught up in his efficiency here, because this wasn't about Porter getting lucky on jumpers. Porter earned his points tonight by getting to the right spots for putbacks and other easy points.
Porter's NBA ceiling may end up being an elite glue guy, but if that's the case, we like what we're seeing from him in that role. He's already making so many savvy veteran moves in that role and he's just 21.
Pierce continues to do work at power forward
Was Pierce at power forward experiment worth the wait? Survey says yes.
Assuming Pierce hits a FT or 2 after timeout, Wizards will have scored on 11 of their 12 possessions w/ Pierce at the 4.— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) April 22, 2015