Can the Wizards stay hot while they cool their heels?
On Sunday night, the Wizards completed a sweep of the Toronto Raptors. If you watched the series, you weren’t surprised by the outcome. The Raptors just ran out of gas and had no answer for the Wizards.
Let’s break it down.
Three point shooting stretched the floor. The Wizards let fly 24.3 three point attempts in the series. This surpassed their normal 16.8 attempts in the regular season. “Fine,” you say. “Teams can start shooting threes all night and still lose!” Yes, but when 44 percent of attempts are hitting the target that adds up to a serious perimeter defense problem with big men like Gortat and Nene in the paint.
The Wall-Gortat Connection. Sometimes the old pick and roll just breaks a teams heart. Anybody remember a guy by the name of Steve Nash? When in his prime, Steve Nash could find the open guy in a morass of arms and legs. Somehow he did it. There are even some comparisons of Wall and Gortat to Stockton and Malone; that may be a bit too early to tell.
John Wall did however seem to find the almost impossibly open guy in this series and averaged 12.5 assists per game. That’s DFS candy right there. Wall’s assists also raised a few other boats to, because with an assist there comes a bucket scored. Gortat’s numbers benefited from Wall’s clever eye and artful passes. It also helps that the Raptors didn’t have an answer for the big-bodied-Gortat. As such, Gortat’s numbers rose for this series. To the victor go the spoils.
Paul Pierce. Nothing beats a veteran in the postseason. John Wall said it himself that Pierce’s presence this postseason has helped him in comparison to last years postseason. Paul Pierce also compliments a smaller lineup that has benefited another little known baller for the Wizards – Otto Porter.
Everything is on the upward trend for this little-known Small Forward out of Georgetown. Yes, that’s right. Porter played college ball on the same exact hardwood he played while at Georgetown. That means a lot.
Porter played under the radar this whole season, and now his minutes jump from 19.4 to 32 per games. His field goal percentage is up to 55% and he is shooting the lights out form beyond the arch at 50%. Yes, check that last stat for me. He shot 33% during the regular season and has caught fire this postseason. What could it be? Pierce? Wall and Gortat? Nene? I can’t say for sure, but it is definitely a perfect storm of effective basketball for the Wizards right now.
The final question to ponder is: “will it last?” Can they take the sweep into the next round. They wait for the either the Hawks or the Nets to finish grinding it out. Take note, that series will go to at least a game six – this Friday. That’s a lot of time in the NBA Playoffs.
My biggest concern for the Wizards is can they stay hot if the Hawks-Nets series goes the full seven. That’s a lot of time for a team to cool down after a strong first round sweep. If the Hawks-Nets go a full seven, the Wizards would have at least a full week to cool down which could spell doom for the flash of the Wizards right now.
Till next time, I want you to want me and follow me @Deepdfspicks.