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|When Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal fouled out with about five minutes left in a tied Game 4 against the Toronto Raptors Josh Allen Jersey , he couldn’t believe the call.He raced to the other end of the court. When he returned to his team’s sideline, he threw a red towel, before being held back by teammates.
”I was beyond emotional. Beyond mad. Frustrated. Pretty much any synonym you can add,” Beal said. ”I told my team that we were going to win, regardless. Especially if we’ve got John still in the game, I love our chances.”
That would be John Wall, and Beal was exactly right. Wall took over down the stretch after his backcourt mate was done for the day, scoring or assisting on 10 of Washington’s last 14 points as the No. 8 seed Wizards came back to beat the No. 1 Raptors 106-98 Sunday night and even their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at 2-all.
”When Brad went out,” Wall said, ”I knew I had to do whatever it took.”
Wall finished with 27 points and 14 assists and, at the other end of the court, guarded All-Star DeMar DeRozan, making sure the Wizards would not be pushed to the brink of elimination ahead of Game 5 at Toronto.
”He’s a big shot maker. A playmaker. It was what you want and what you expect Sonny Gray Jersey ,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. ”We needed him to step up. He stepped up big.”
This was a game the Raptors led by 14 points early in the second half. But as their offense bogged down, the Wizards clawed back.
It was 92-all when Beal – who led Washington with 31 points – drew his sixth foul on a play in which he and DeRozan collided while Toronto had the ball.
Asked whether the official told him why that call was made, Beal replied: ”He wasn’t explaining that one. There was no explaining to do.”
Wizards center Marcin Gortat’s view of the officiating: ”I truly believe that some of those calls are very soft. I’ve never seen so many soft calls in the playoffs.”
After Beal left, the Raptors immediately went up by two, but Wall pulled the Wizards even with a layup that drew a goaltending call, then put the hosts in front to stay by feeding Markieff Morris for a layup off the glass.
With Beal cheerleading, jumping and waving his arms, Wall just kept producing, showing no signs of fatigue despite playing all 24 minutes in the second half. This is a guy who missed about two months of the regular season because of surgery on his left knee.
While the closing seconds ticked away, Wall held up two fingers on each hand: Yes, it’s 2-2 now, and the best-of-seven series has become best-of-three.
The Raptors were up 51-40 at halftime, and increased that advantage early in the third quarter. But the game was tied at 80 entering the fourth Youth Oren Burks Jersey , and Toronto only scored 18 in the last period.
”We couldn’t get a stop,” DeRozan lamented. ”And we couldn’t get a bucket.”
He had 35 points, six assists and six rebounds, but he started 0 for 6 and wound up 10 for 29, acknowledging afterward: ”I took some bad shots.”
Noted Kyle Lowry, who scored 19 for Toronto: ”We didn’t completely stick with our offense.”
Raptors: Now 0-4 all-time in Game 4 when up 2-1. … Starter OG Anunoby limped off late in the second quarter. He returned in the third quarter, but sat out all of the fourth. … Backup PG Fred VanVleet was out with an injured right shoulder.
Wizards: Won their eighth consecutive playoff home game. … Wall entered Game 4 averaging 26.7 points and 12.7 assists in the series. He could become only the third player in NBA history to put up 25 points and 10 assists per game in multiple postseasons, joining Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook.
TOO MANY TURNOVERS
Raptors coach Dwane Casey declared before tipoff: ”Taking care of the ball is our No. 1 priority.” And then his team went out and had 18 turnovers, only one fewer than in Game 3. ”You can’t explain them,” Casey said. ”They’re out of character.”
PORTER SHOWS UP
After languishing through an 0-for-4, one-point first half, Wizards SF Otto Porter Jr. scored eight in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the third quarter, including a pair of 3s. He finished with 12 points.
Game 5 is at Toronto on Wednesday night.
鈥?Mike Tomlin isn’t sure how long of a break he wants to give his star players before the postseason begins.The Pittsburgh Steelers coach is going to wait to determine how much Ben Roethlisberger Geron Christian Jersey Redskins , Le’Veon Bell and company play during Sunday’s regular-season finale against winless Cleveland.The Steelers (12-3) wrapped up their third AFC North title in four years earlier this month and secured a first-round bye by dominating Houston on Christmas night.A shot at the top seed and home-field advantage in the playoffs remains a possibility, a scenario the relies almost exclusively on the New York Jets beating New England on the road, something the Jets have done only once in the past decade and even that came in 2008 when Tom Brady was out with a knee injury.“We will play to win that football game,” Tomlin said Tuesday. “Who we choose to employ or utilize or activate 鈥?we are in the process of discussing. Make no mistake about it. The expectation will be what it is. The people we put on the field will be expected to play and play winning football.”The Steelers held out Roethlisberger, Bell and Antonio Brown in their meaningless 2016 finale against the Browns when backup quarterback Landry Jones guided Pittsburgh to a comeback 27-24 victory.Jones could again get the call or at least play extensively, though Tomlin insists he’s not going to make personnel decisions based on what the scoreboard is telling him about the game in Foxborough.One decision is already made for Tomlin. Brown will miss a second straight week while recovering from a strained left calf suffered in the first half of a loss to the Patriots on Dec. 17.Tomlin remained noncommittal about Brown’s availability for the playoffs. Pittsburgh opens the postseason on Jan. 13 or 14. The perennial All-Pro posted video on his Instagram account on Christmas Day of him very gingerly walking up his driveway with a football in his hands.When asked if there’s any concern about Brown dealing with rust should he return, Tomlin offered nothing but caution.“I didn’t say that (he will return),” Tomlin said. “So, we’ll see. He hadn’t missed a lot of time over the course of his career here anyway so we don’t have a lot to draw from in that regard.”The only player in NFL history to have 100 catches in five consecutive seasons has been remarkably durable during his rise to one of the best players in the league. He hasn’t missed multiple games because of injury since 2012.The Steelers hardly missed Brown while rolling over the reeling Texans. Rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster caught six passes for 75 yards and a touchdown, Martavis Bryant added three receptions for 60 yards and Justin Hunter, active for just the sixth time this season, hauled in his first touchdown reception in 13 months.“The replacement of Antonio Brown, if you will Youth Mike White Jersey , is a difficult task, but not if everybody simply does their job and makes the necessary plays when the opportunities come their way,” Tomlin said. “That’s what happened throughout the game for us.”Tomlin anticipates the same “hand in the pile” mentality when Pittsburgh tries to make Cleveland the second team in NFL history to go 0-16 regardless of who is in the lineup.That lineup will not include linebacker James Harrison. Pittsburgh cut the five-time Pro Bowler over the weekend to make room for right tackle Marcus Gilbert as Gilbert returned from a four-game suspension.Harrison cleared waivers and wasn’t out of a job for long, signing with New England on Tuesday.The 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year posed for a picture with Brady inside the New England locker room on Tuesday, cracking he’s finally found a teammate who’s been in the league longer than he has. The 39-year-old Harrison played only sporadically this season, but has served as a valuable mentor to a young linebacker group that includes Bud Dupree and rookie T.J. Watt. It wasn’t enough, however, for Pittsburgh to keep Harrison around..