WASHINGTON -- An infuriated Bradley Beal held his head in disgust and was literally hopping mad at officials who called his sixth and final foul with 4:58 remaining in Game 4 after Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan ran into him chasing down an offensive rebound.
With the game and potentially their season hanging in the balance, the Washington Wizards managed to overcome the loss of their leading scorer and what they believed were "soft calls" by the officiating crew to even their best-of-seven series with a 106-98 win over the Raptors. Washington finished the game with a 14-6 John Wall-fueled run to win extend its postseason home winning streak to eight.
"We know what we can do to beat this team," said Wall, who also dished out 14 assists. "We know what we got to do to stop this team."
Beal scored 31 points before fouling out and watching Wall score eight of his 27 points in the last 3:50. Wall outscored the Raptors 8-6 while helping hold DeRozan (35 points) and Kyle Lowry (19 points) to four points during the last five minutes of the game.
With Beal out of the game, Wall shouldered the load for the Wizards. The All-Star point guard, playing in only his eighth game after undergoing knee surgery earlier this season, made or assisted on the final seven Wizards field goals and scored or assisted on 18 of Washington's final 23 points according to ESPN Stats & Info.?
Wall, who has 14 or more assists in three games in this series, also held DeRozan to two points and 1-for-5 shooting in the final six minutes.
"That's John Wall," center Marcin Gortat said. "I am glad he's healthy. He is spoon-feeding me. I am getting fat now. Listen, if he plays the right way, he is the best point guard in the league. If he looks for his teammates and looks for the open possession where he can attack, he is the best."
Washington struggled in the first half and fell behind 54-40 at the start of the third quarter. Frustrated by missed shots and fouls, the Wizards looked out of it as DeRozan went to the free throw line 12 times in the first half.
"I don't know, I truly believe that some of those calls are very soft," Gortat said. "I have never seen so many soft calls in playoffs, but I have to go back to the tape and watch it again. I may be wrong and had a bad angle."
Beal clearly felt the officials had the wrong angle when they whistled the shooting guard for his sixth personal foul in the fourth quarter. He picked up his fourth on an offensive charge with 7:59 remaining, but Washington head coach Scott Brooks opted to keep him in with the Wizards trailing by six at that time. Beal scored six of his points to help Washington tie the game at 92-92 before fouling out when DeRozan ran into him chasing an offensive rebound.
Beal, holding his ground and hands up in the air, fell backward to the floor after DeRozan got tripped up on Beal's right leg and hip chasing the ball toward the Wizards' bench. Beal protested by hopping almost all the way to half court.
"When initially they called me for my sixth, I was beyond emotional, beyond mad, frustrated," Beal said. "Pretty much any synonym you can add on that list. And I honestly thought they were going to kick me out of the game because I was so mad. I was happy they didn't do that.
"I kind of gathered my emotions and thoughts and told my team that we are going to win regardless, because we still got John in the game and I love our chances."
Now Washington feels much better about its chances, with the series shifting to Toronto and becoming a best-of-three now.
"We don't look at the seeding or the numbers," Beal said of the eighth-seeded Wizards being tied with the top-seeded Raptors. "That is just a number at the end of the day. That doesn't determine who we are as a team, or the potential as a team. That is irrelevant."