With Pierce helping show his younger teammates how to win, Washington emphatically completed the first sweep of a seven-game series in club history. And just as Pierce had hoped, the Wizards won't need to pull out their passports again.
The Wizards finished off the Raptors in four games by winning 125-94 Sunday night to quickly close the first-round Eastern Conference series, getting 21 points and 11 rebounds from Marcin Gortat, and 14 points and 10 assists from John Wall.
Six Wizards scored in double figures, including Bradley Beal with 23 points and Pierce with 14, and that duo made seven of the Wizards' team playoff-record 15 3-pointers.
After both Games 2 and 3, Pierce -- the 37-year-old with an NBA championship ring from his days in Boston -- declared that he didn't want to have to deal with going through U.S. Customs again, a reference to wanting to avoid having to travel back to Toronto for Game 5.
Not a problem.
Washington led by 16 in the first quarter, 20 in the second and by a whopping 32 -- 102-70 -- entering the fourth.
Washington has reached the second round of the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since getting to the NBA Finals in 1979, a year after winning the title. And the sellout crowd of 20,356 kept rising to cheer every made 3, salute every player who left for a substitute, yell "Sweep! Sweep!" -- and, in not-so-diplomatic moments, occasionally chant "USA! USA!"
Next up for the No. 5 seed Wizards will be No. 1 Atlanta or No. 8 Brooklyn. Those teams play their Game 4 on Monday, with the Hawks up 2-1.
Toronto went 3-0 against Washington in the regular season, but failed to find any consistency from quarter to quarter in the playoffs. Kyle Lowry kept finding himself in foul trouble -- he picked up his third midway through the first quarter Sunday -- and shot poorly. He scored 21 in Game 4, while DeMar DeRozan had 14.
Otto Porter, who played college basketball in the same arena for Georgetown, heard choruses of his first and last names when he entered late in first quarter and again after he made a corner 3 in the second. On defense, he gave DeRozan fits, inducing a stepback jumper that barely touched the rim, then drawing an offensive foul.
The No. 4 seed Raptors extended their history of brief postseasons: Their past five trips ended with first-round exits.
The Wizards are experiencing a revival of sorts, led in large part by Wall, the No. 1 overall pick the 2010 draft and an All-Star the past two seasons.
Washington won 46 games this season, the first time the club topped 45 since it was known as the Bullets in 1979, back before anyone on the current roster other than Pierce had been born -- and he was only about 18 months old at the time.
The Wizards led by as many 16 points in the first quarter and ended it ahead 36-22, despite taking about half as many shots as the Raptors. But Washington made 13 of 15 free throws, while Toronto took only one foul shot.
Weathering a mini-run by the Raptors, the Wizards closed the half up 66-50. Gortat was a major reason, delivering 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting, along with eight rebounds.
After Gortat made one basket while getting fouled, Wall jumped up and down on the sideline, twirling a red towel overhead. Then he sauntered out onto the court to chest bump Gortat and whip the towel at him playfully.
By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Sports Writer