The Washington Wizards are one game away from their first four game sweep in franchise history after surviving the Toronto Raptors' best effort of the series in their 106-99 win in Game 3.
After losing both of their home games to open the series, the Raptors came through with a new plan that forced the Wizards to backpedal and readjust early. Kyle Lowry, who has been dormant most of the series, got out to a good start, only to be outshined by DeMar DeRozan, who scored 20 (a Raptors' franchise record) in the first quarter. But even after all of that, the Raptors only had a two point lead after the first 12 minutes. It was a microcosm of the game: Even when Toronto was at their best, the Wizards were still just as good, and as soon as they slipped, Washington did just enough to make it clear they were the superior team.
Here's what else we learned from the Wizards' win in Game 3:
John Wall is the best player on the floor in this series, and it's not close
Listening to someone pick a team to win a playoff series because they have the "best player on the floor" can get tiring after a while, mainly because there are so many cases where the team with the best player on the floor doesn't end up winning. But when that happens, it's usually because they can limit the "best player on the floor" in some way from doing what he wants to do. It's much, much harder to beat the team with the "best player on the floor" when you can't stop him.
Through three games, it's clear the Raptors can't stop John Wall. Even though Wall had a rough night shooting (he was 5-15 from the floor) he had complete control of the game. Don't just look at the 15 assists. Don't just look at how well Marcin Gortat benefitted from Wall. Just watch how he weaved around the court. Toronto doesn't have anyone who can keep up with him. That's why the Wizards are up 3-0 right now.
It's a shame that we're not getting to see a full-fledged Wall vs. Lowry battle in this series, as it seems pretty clear Kyle Lowry isn't fully healthy. But John Wall isn't going to shed a tear while you play your tiny violins, Toronto.
Otto. Changes. Everything.
For the second game in a row, Otto Porter had the best plus/minus of anyone on the Wizards. Once again, Porter turned the tide of the game by forcing DeMar DeRozan into bad looks and providing great help defense. But this wasn't just one of those performances that only a true basketball afficionado can appreciate. Porter finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds, including a pair of big time threes in the fourth quarter to help put the game away. Otto isn't scared anymore, and that's a scary thought for everyone else.
The Paul Pierce thing seems to be working well
Remember when the argument the Wizards should have kept Trevor Ariza was a thing? That was fun while it lasted.