With their backs against the wall, Bradley Beal and John Wall came up big to propel the Wizards to a crucial Game 3 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
The All-Star backcourt combined for 56 points on the night, with each guard scoring 28. Wall did most of his damage inside and added 14 assists, while The Panda knocked down four triples in the game. BB started the game strong and carried that performance throughout the game.
It could have been easy for the Wizards to fold after falling behind 27-18 in the first quarter, but they closed the opening frame on a 12-2 run to take a one-point lead. The Wizards would lead for most of the game after that point, showing that they have what it takes to compete with the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
“This is the playoffs, this is the big stage, this is where you come together through adversity to get a win,” Beal said.
Trailing 0-2 heading into a pivotal Game 3, Brad was ready to battle for their first win of the series. No team has ever come back to win a series from down 0-3, so tonight was basically a must-win situation for the Wizards.
“That was my main mindset,” Beal said. “Do whatever it takes to win.”
The Wizards played exceptional defense all night, which helped them get transition buckets and easy offense on their way to a 55 percent shooting night. The Wizards forced 19 Raptors turnovers in the game which contributed to a 21-10 advantage for Washington in fast break points.
Kelly Oubre Jr. and Mike Scott both turned in solid performances off the bench, notching 12 points each, leading the Wizards to a 35-32 advantage in bench points against one of the NBA’s best reserve units in Toronto.
Ultimately, this series comes down to the four guards on these two teams, and Beal and Wall were better than Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan tonight. The Wizards held DeRozan to 23 points on 22 shots, and Lowry scored 19. DeRozan posted a -17 rating while on the floor along with Lowry’s -4.
In comparison, Beal posted a +19 rating, and Wall had a +12 rating in Game 3.
“John and Brad – they’re the heads of the snake,” Lowry said after Game 3. “And we got to cut them off.”
It’s just one game, and the Wizards still have plenty of work to do. But, they showed Friday night that they can compete with the Raptors, especially when Beal and Wall get things going on the offensive end.
Washington will look to even the series when they host Game 4 on Sunday, with tip off slated for 6pm ET on TNT.