Not only is Paul Pierce hitting big shots in the Wizards‘ playoff series, his star pupil is, too, writes J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Otto Porter made a key three-pointer in Washington’s Game 3 win Friday, and he has been an important defensive presence throughout the series. “I constantly stay in Otto’s ear pushing him, trying to get him to be the best he can be,” Pierce said. “He’s responded. He’s starting to play with a little bit more fire.” Porter is justifying the Wizards’ decision in October to exercise their third-year contract option on him.
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- Pierce isn’t the only one noticing Porter’s value, reports Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. The Raptors see it, too, and they are saying Porter is a big reason why the Wizards own a 3-0 series lead. “He’s been the difference,” said Toronto guard Greivis Vasquez. Washington can look forward to several more years of defensive prowess from Porter. It has club options on the young forward this offseason and next, and he can become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2017.
- The Magic have a chance to develop quickly if they keep their young core together, contends Jason Hall of Fox Sports Florida. He notes that Orlando had one of the youngest rosters in the NBA, and its nucleus of Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic were all born after 1990. The first challenge for keeping the team together will be Harris, who will become a restricted free agent this summer.