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Wizards’ Marcin Gortat coming back to old roots with physical play

Marcin Gortat

After Washington Wizards veteran center Marcin Gortat went scoreless during his team’s Game 2 loss to the top-seeded Toronto Raptors, the big man has really stepped it up the last two games as Washington has tied the series with Toronto at 2-2.

Since the Wizards returned home for Game 3 and 4, Gortat has gone back to his old roots and played much more physical basketball in the paint.

Although he is known for being a very physical player, the 34-year-old Gortat has never picked up a single flagrant-2 foul during his 10-year NBA career.

“I can’t afford to go crazy bizarre and then sit [on] the bench and see centers abuse my team on the boards,” Gortat said on Tuesday, via an article written by Candance Buckner of the Washington Post. “I can’t help the team if I’m sitting on the bench. I’m just not that type of a person who’s going to foul you hard or aim at your head when I’m trying to go for the ball. I ain’t going to do that. I’ve never been that person. I know I had issues with many coaches telling me, ‘I need you to foul him hard. I need you to literally ‘eff’ him up.’ But I just can’t. I just can’t because that’s not me. I’ve never been that type of player.”

Wizards star shooting guard Bradley Beal, who had a team-high 31 points in just 32 minutes during Game 4 before he fouled out with roughly five minutes remaining in regulation, admires the toughness that Gortat brings to this Washington team.

“He takes bumps and bruises. Sometimes I don’t understand how he does it, like practices every day, lifts every day, plays in all the games,” Beal said of Gortat. “The wear and tear on his body is crazy, I’m sure, but he’s a physical guy. Playing his position, he has to every single night. He does it.”

Gortat is averaging 10 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game in the series on 64.5 percent shooting.

The Wizards will head back to Toronto on Wednesday night for a pivotal Game 5 matchup with the Raptors in this best-of-seven series.