Raptors oust Wizards...Pacers blow out Cavs to force Game 7

Sunday, 29 Apr, 2018

Assists, three-pointers attempted and bench points all took increased as the Raptors followed the growing league trend of pace and space.

Al Horford has played in four Game 7s.

With 3:31 left of Game 6, DeRozan re-entered the game after having sat out the entire fourth quarter until then.

The Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal felt the sting of not making it to the second round of the National Basketball Association playoffs after losing to the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 and their series on Friday. Unlike previous playoff appearances, this time Toronto could not be thrown off its game by a trapping defense created to take the ball out of Lowry and DeRozan's hands. The Wizards didn't have the firepower to match. Lowry, center Jonas Valanciunas and, eventually, DeRozan, would check in to finish things off, rested and feeding off the energy created by the second unit.

Bradley Beal had a game-high 32 points for the Wizards, while John Wall added 23 with eight assists.

The Raptors' reserves allowed the starters to keep fresh.

This style of play has eased in the last couple of years as the Raptors have learned from their past mistakes but the skeletons still come out of the closet for the fourth quarter and crunch time late in games.

After a postseason of promised change under the same personnel, most were skeptical but unduly so as the Toronto Raptors have transformed their offense this season. And John had 40.

Coach Casey danced with the girls who brung him, while Coach Brooks opted to experiment and tinker with lineups, and it ended up being one of the factors that prematurely ended the Wizards season.

In game six, IN handed the Cavs their first loss IN a close-out game IN 14 tries dating to 2009 and ended James' 11-game winning streak IN close-out games.

Wall was asked after if the minutes disparity between Wall and Beal and Lowry and DeRozan affected the game.

To be fair, the Wizards bench, perhaps, surpassed outside expectations heading into the playoffs. Wall was on the floor with Gortat, Satoransky, Ty Lawson and Mike Scott. Kelly Oubre wasn't a trainwreck defensively.

So now they wait to see who they play.

When Wall was injured, Coach Brooks entrusted Tomas Satoransky to lead the team, and he did yeoman's work and was instrumental in helping the Wizards gain a playoff berth.

It allowed DeRozan to play only 33 minutes, and Lowry 31, compared with more than 40 each for Washington's All-Star guards, John Wall and Bradley Beal, who looked exhausted by the end. I told the guys, we've got bigger fish to fry. "It's a lot. You can't just pinpoint it on one thing".

Lowry, meanwhile, praised Wall's ability to consistently play that many minutes while still retaining his speed.

The All-Star, however, also believes the front office must do a good job of surrounding the backcourt duo with the right pieces in the offseason. Wall shot just 33 percent (10-of-30), while Beal made only 26.9 percent of his attempts in the fourth.

"Freddy didn't make spectacular plays, but he was out there controlling the game, (he) controlled the tempo, let Delon (Wright) get out there and play off the ball, and cut, be free, and gamble a little bit", Lowry said of his backup.

Backup point guard Fred VanVleet, limited by a shoulder injury earlier in the series, scored just five points but Raptors coach Dwane Casey said his presence was key.

Casey rode his "Bench Mob" during Friday's tense elimination game against the Washington Wizards, and he was rewarded with a lopsided 29-14 fourth quarter that won the series. Lowry and DeRozan were instrumental in their team's fourth quarter performance, but it was the bench-anchored by VanVleet-that did the heavy lifting.