Friday's win is finally setting in. Yes, the Wizards are actually 3-0 in a playoff series! But how the heck did we get here in Game 3? Let's a look at the stat sheet to find some reasons why.
Four Factors numbers by quarter
|WIZARDS FOUR FACTORS||PERIOD||RAPTORS FOUR FACTORS|
The Wizards pulled their win by winning the field goal percentage and free throw battles. Their defense was strong as well, especially in the last three quarters of this contest.
There are so many good things that I will inevitably leave something out. But here are some things that stuck out right away:
Marcin Gortat - The Polish Machine was a machine scoring 24 points on 11 of 15 shooting, grabbed 13 rebounds, and blocked four shots. But he also dished five assists, often off of traps as Mike and Akbar noted in the Post Game show.
John Wall's 15 assists - After dishing 17 assists in Game 2, Wall dished another 15 tonight. Can we call John the Point God at this point?
Bradley Beal's 3 blocks - Wall is known for being a good shot blocker at the guard position, but Beal had three blocks tonight. Great job! As a team, the Wizards also blocked 13 shots, while the Raptors only were able to block two.
Drew Gooden provides a strong first half performance - Gooden scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half and played a huge role for the Wizards' second unit with his three-point shooting efficiency.
In the second half, he made a key basket driving to the basket like an athletic swingman for an and-one. Who would've thought that Gooden would be taking over basketball games, or playing key moments at this point in the season at certain points? Not me!
The Wizards' shot distribution - Washington has been taking noticeably fewer long range two's in the Playoffs than they did in the regular season. Here's their shot chart from Game 3, which is a LOT more analytics friendly:
Whether it's Beal being more conscious of the shots he's taking or better offensive execution, this is a good thing. Keep it up!
Controlling DeMar DeRozan - The Raptors' swingman scored 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting in the first quarter to give Toronto an early edge over Washington. But ultimately, he only made 3 of 18 shots the rest of the way, thanks to some excellent defense by Otto Porter.
Kyle Lowry continues to shoot poorly - The All-Star starter shot 5 of 22 from the field on Friday and has not shot above 30% from the field in any game during the series. If the Raptors are to avoid getting swept on Sunday, he must have a hot shooting night in addition to DeRozan.
Paul Pierce heating up in the fourth quarter - The Truth scored 11 of his 18 points in the last 12 minutes of the game, where he made all of his shots (three three-pointers) and both of his free throws. It's not just the fact that he scored those points of course. He also made dagger threes like this one with 16 seconds left in the game:
DeMar DeRozan's 20-point first quarter - Even though DeRozan didn't have an efficient night overall, he still had a stronger start to this game than I would expect. The only reason why this stat wasn't ugly was because the rest of the Raptors only shot 37.5% from the field in that time and the Wizards contained him from that point on.
The TOV% rate worsened each quarter - The Wizards were noticeably more sloppy with the ball as the game wore on. Fortunately, their defense improved and their shooting was at its best in the fourth quarter.
Free Throw Efficiency - The Wizards made more free throws than the Raptors, but their free throw percentage suffered once again, as they only shot 22 of 31 from the line, a rate of 71 percent.
What needs to happen in Game 4
With a 3-0 series lead over Toronto, the Wizards must not fall complacent, especially with turnovers. But I'll admit that I've been quite impressed with the fact that they have been playing as well as they have been since before the All-Star Break.