(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Wizards will try to sweep the Atlantic Division champion Toronto Raptors out of the playoffs Sunday when the two teams clash in Game 4 at the Verizon Center.
No team in NBA history has squandered a 3-0 series lead. The Wizards haven't swept a postseason series since the first round back in 1982 when they defeated the Nets, 2-0. Back then, it was a best-of-three opening round.
After taking the first two in Toronto, the Wizards responded with a 106-99 win in D.C. Friday night.
Paul Pierce showed exactly why the young Wizards brought in the future Hall of Famer.
Pierce scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter -- including a couple of clutch 3-pointers -- to help the Wizards to the victory.
Terrence Ross' 3-pointer tied the game for Toronto at 88-88 prior to Otto Porter answering at the other end with a trey. Washington led by two with just over 2 1/2 minutes left and Porter buried another triple before Pierce canned one from beyond the arc for a 98-90 lead.
"You're not playing against chopped liver. Paul Pierce has won an NBA championship," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
The margin was six when Ross picked off an errant pass by Porter and Kyle Lowry finished at the other end with a runner. Following two free throws from Pierce, Lowry quickly knocked down a contested 3-pointer that cut the Raptors' deficit to three.
Toronto chose not to foul and let the Wizards play out their possession. But Pierce delivered the dagger with a hesitated 3 with 16.9 seconds left.
"Otto hit two big ones and Paul's two (3-pointers) at the end were huge. That's why we brought him here. He's not scared of the moment," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
Marcin Gortat had 24 points with 13 rebounds, John Wall contributed 19 points and 15 assists and Bradley Beal added 16 points for Washington.
DeMar DeRozan scored 22 of his playoff career-high 32 in the first half to lead the Raptors, who had won three straight in Washington. Amir Johnson finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
Lowry, who fouled out in Game 1 and left Game 2 with an ankle injury, scored 15 points on 5-of-22 shooting and dished out seven assists.
"From the start of the game to the end of the game I thought our guys competed. Of course, at the end of the game (the Wizards) made some big plays," Casey said.
The Raptors haven't advanced in the playoffs since 2001. Unless they can buck years of history, they are headed for a second consecutive playoff elimination, despite being a higher seed. In 2014, the Raptors lost a Game 7 in Toronto to the Nets.
Washington could be headed to the second round as a five seed for the second straight year. Last season, they knocked off the Chicago Bulls in five games.
If necessary, though, Game 5 would be Wednesday night in Toronto.