Wizards would like repeat of Game 3 against Raptors
WASHINGTON -- The Wizards' All-Star duo turned in star performances Friday night and now Washington has a chance to even its first-round series with the top-seeded Toronto Raptors on Sunday at Capital One Arena.
John Wall and Bradley Beal scored 28 points apiece, Wall added 14 assists and Wizards turned in a cocky, aggressive effort to get back in the series with a 122-103 Game 3 victory.
The Wizards will go for their eighth straight home playoff win Sunday.
"We came out tonight with an edge about ourselves," Beal told thesportscapital.com. "We've got to protect our home floor. Toronto did what they were supposed to do. They won on their home floor. We had to do the same."
Beal rebounded from a 3-of-11 effort (nine points) in Game 2, scoring 21 first-half points as Washington built an eight-point lead at intermission it never relinquished.
"For the most part, I just wanted to be aggressive and get shots I want versus what they're going to force me to take," Beal told The Washington Post.
Beal and Wall combined for 22-of-42 shooting and 10 rebounds.
"When they play at that level, they are really good," Raptors guard Kyle Lowry told the Toronto Sun regarding the Wall-Beal tandem. "They are the heads of the snake, and we've got to cut them off."
The Wizards outshot the Raptors 55.3 percent to 45.1 percent in an intense, chippy game that featured several altercations.
But the bigger problem for Toronto was holding on to the ball.
"You can't turn the ball over 19 times for 28 points," Toronto coach Dwane Casey told the Globe and Mail. "Your hat has to go off to Washington; they came out and punched us and we allowed them to. Nineteen turnovers, they shoot 55 percent, that's the ballgame."
The Raptors continue to miss reserve guard Fred VanVleet. For the second game in a row, the Washington bench outscored the Raptors' vaunted second unit, this time 35-32.
Toronto's C.J. Miles converted 8 of 13 3-point attempts in the first two games, but a tighter Washington defense held him to 1 of 5 on Friday night.
"I think we have to be more aggressive," Raptors reserve Pascal Siakam told the Sun regarding the Wizards' bench. "They were ready tonight and they took us out of what we wanted to do. We have to be ready when we come out and make sure we throw the first punch."
Washington reserves Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 12 points apiece.
There had been talk of the Wizards shaking up their lineup after Game 2, but coach Scott Brooks stuck with his regulars, saying before the game that he was "confident in the group."
Center Marcin Gortat -- minus his mohawk -- rewarded him with 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting and five rebounds in front of the home crowd.
"Playing on the road the first two games kind of caught us off guard," Washington's Markieff Morris told thesportscapital.com. "We came back home and settled down. Got the first win. Try to get the one on Sunday and then move on from there."
Washington is looking for a partial repeat of history. Last year, it dropped the first two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals in Boston before winning Games 3 and 4 in Washington.
The Capitals ultimately won Game 6 at home before dropping Game 7 in Boston.
Updated April 22, 2018