- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2018

Facing elimination, the Washington Wizards could be without forward Otto Porter for Game 6 on Friday against the Toronto Raptors.

Coach Scott Brooks described Porter as “banged up” Thursday with a lower leg injury, on the outside of his calf. Brooks did not know if Porter needed an MRI, and said he was still awaiting a further update from doctors.

As for the severity of the injury, Brooks didn’t rule out Porter missing Friday’s game. The Wizards trail 3-2 after suffering a 108-98 loss Wednesday in Toronto.

“Anything’s possible, but we hope for the best,” Brooks said. “I know he’s banged up. That’s all I know right now.”

If Porter misses the game, that would be a huge blow to the Wizards. While Porter has been quiet offensively this series, his defense has played a part in slowing down Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan and helping contain three-point shooters.

Prior to Game 3, Brooks declared Porter as “100 percent healthy,” even though the forward missed the team’s regular-season finale against the Orlando Magic with a calf strain. Porter suffered that injury April 10 against the Boston Celtics.

But against Toronto, Porter hasn’t been himself.

He’s scoring 10 points per game after averaging 14.7 in the regular season. He hasn’t been able to hit the 3-pointer as consistently, shooting 41.7 percent instead of his season average of 44.1.

Brooks has routinely urged Porter to be more aggressive, but that hasn’t happened in Round 1. Porter is taking just 2.4 attempts from deep per game, whereas he averaged 4. 1 attempts in the regular season.

The Wizards have gotten significant contributions from John Wall and Bradley Beal, but not Porter, who has a cap hit of nearly $25 million this season.

“We definitely need more scoring out of Otto and [Markieff Morris],” Brooks said. “John and Brad are going to get their opportunities because they’re the focal point of it, but when we’re really good, we share the ball and everybody gets opportunities to score.”

Porter’s bright spot of these playoffs came in Game 4, when he scored 10 points in the third quarter to help the Wizards climb out of a 14-point deficit.

In Game 5, however, Porter scored just nine points in 31 minutes, going 0-of-3 from deep.

Still, scoring, particularly over the final eight minutes, became a problem for the whole team. During that span, the Wizards watched a five-point lead disappear.

The Raptors went on a 26-11 run as the Wizards coughed up the ball, bricked jumpers and had multiple shot clock violations. It was ugly.

The collapse continued Washington’s trend of struggling to close out games in Toronto. Reserve Delon Wright has hit crucial shots during Games 1 and 5 as the Wizards lost both meetings. On Wednesday, the Raptors also threw a wrench at Wizards by playing center Jonas Valanciunas heavy minutes in the fourth quarter. The Raptors took advantage of the size mismatch with Morris at center.

Brooks, though, said the Wizards lost Game 5, primarily, because they couldn’t hit shots. During the fourth quarter, they went 8-of-23 from the field. They shot even worse 4-of-17 after leading 87-82 with 8:52 left. 

Porter, meanwhile, took only one attempt in the fourth — a missed three with 30 seconds left.

“We need Otto,” Brooks said. “We need Otto to be more than a nine or 10 point scorer for us to win this series.”

The Wizards also need him to be cleared first.

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