On Wednesday afternoon, before the Wizards and Hawks tipped off in Game 5 of their playoff series, Scott Brooks talked about the need for a third scorer outside of John Wall and Bradley Beal after four games where the star duo carried much of the load. Brooks got just that in a Game 5 103-99 victory, as Otto Porter filled the void with 17 points and did so, amazingly, on just four shot attempts.
Porter at his best this season was the most efficient player on the Wizards. He was fifth in the NBA in effective field goal percentage and all four of the guys ahead of him were big men.
That version of Porter hasn't consistently shown up in months. Opposing defenses have adjusted and taken away his open threes and late in the year he dealt with back spasms.
Through four playoff games, Porter had reached double figures twice but in the other two games had 11 total points. He had yet to fully break out, but did so on Wednesday.
"I talked to him yestereday and texted him," guard John Wall said. "I told him just keep shooting, keep cutting to the basket, things will start falling for you. It was great to see him get to the line and knock down a couple threes."
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The Hawks tried to check Porter at the perimeter and bump him out of his comfort zone with physical contact. Porter didn't retreat, he attacked the basket, mostly on the fastbreak, and was rewarded with 10 free throw attempts, a new career-high. He sank nine of them, also a career best.
"Just trying to be agressive," Porter said. "Just trying to take advantage of my opportunities in transition."
Of Porter's three field goal makes, two of them were from three-point range. Porter did his work at the free throw line and in just about every other aspect of the game. He had five rebounds, two steals, a block and an assist. He also helped close out Paul Millsap on double teams to help out Markieff Morris. All of that in 31 minutes and in a game the Wizards pretty much needed to win to hopes of moving on realistic.
Porter is the type of player who can impact a game in a variety of ways. But getting more from him offensively went a long way to help the Wizards get a pivotal Game 5 victory. He was the first Wizards player outside of Wall or Beal to score 15 points or more since Morris did in Game 1.
Porter came through just when the Wizards needed him.
"That was super big for us," Morris said. "We can count on Otto every time. I wouldn't call it a step-up because that's what he's been doing."
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