Washington Wizards’ Paul Pierce, center, is congratulated after their 93-86 overtime win against the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs, Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Toronto. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)
Paul Pierce scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 93-86 road win in Game One of their opening round series against Toronto Raptors on April 18. Washington took a 1-0 edge in the best-of-seven series.
The Wizards pulled off the victory despite their struggles shooting the ball. Washington’s two best guards, John Wall and Brad Beal, combined to make just 10 of 40 shot attempts. Both Wall and Beal missed many jump shots early on, causing the team to fall behind in the first quarter.
Washington Wizards’ John Wall, left, shoots over Toronto Raptors’ Amir Johnson during overtime in Game 1 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs, Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Toronto. The Wizards won 93-86 in overtime. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)
But future Hall of Famer Paul Pierce, formerly of the Boston Celtics, showed why he is an NBA Champion and Finals MVP. Pierce took over the game in the second quarter for the Wizards and made every shot he took in that quarter, scoring 10 points to give Washington a four-point lead at halftime.
The Wizards continued their dominance over Toronto in the third quarter, ballooning their lead to double digits and leading by asmany as 15 points midway through the fourth quarter. But the Raptors fought back during the final minutes to tie the score and force overtime. Fortunately for Washington, the Raptors ran out of gas in extended play, and the Wizards were able to pull away for the win.
Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal, center, lays off a pass as Toronto Raptors’ Amir Johnson (15) and DeMar DeRozan defend during the second half in Game 1 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs, Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Toronto. The Wizards won 93-86 in overtime. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)
Beal nearly posted a double-double, scoring 16 points with nine rebounds and six assists. However, the third-year guard suffered one of the worst shooting performances of his career, making just six of 23 shot attempts.
Veteran big man Nene Hilario played just 21 minutes for Washington but still finished with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. John Wall had 10 points with eight assists.
Raptors forward Amir Johnson led his team with 18 points and eight rebounds; guard DeMar DeRozan added 15 points with 11 rebounds for Toronto, while Raptors All-Star guard Kyle Lowry struggled, scoring just seven points before he fouled out of the game in the fourth quarter.
Next: Washington will face the Raptors back in Toronto for Game Two of the series on April 21. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern.