To win this series, the Celtics starters need to hold serve with Washington’s starting team and the bench needs to push them ahead.
A win on Friday (8 p.m., ESPN) would mark Boston’s first return to the Eastern Conference Finals since 2012, and just four seasons after Celtics GM Danny Ainge traded away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, electing to rebuild instead. “We were letting guys cut through the lane without touching them”, Morris said. “We’ve got to defend at a high level against a very good team that plays well on their home floor”. Thomas had as many made field goals as fouls (1) in the first half, but it didn’t matter. “Tonight it happened to be me”.
On a night when nearly everything went right for the Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart tested fate. You just have to be prepared. “But I didn’t say that’s the reason why we lost”, Thomas said. Every game has been decided by at least 10 points, and each of the last three have featured garbage-time fourth quarters.
After dropping the first two games of the series in Boston, the Wizards have stormed back to tie the series at 2-2 with two blowout victories in the Friendly Confines of Verizon Center.
“That’s the playoffs for you”, Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas said.
“Next game I might drop 40”.
Wednesday night it was home to one of the best nights of Avery Bradley’s career. While neither team has look particularly effective, and it appears they’ve both just given up on playing defense, Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas has continued to shine. “That’s really all you’re looking for”. He finished with 29 points and had plenty of help from Al Horford (19) and Jae Crowder (18). “So what I’m trying to do is give other guys space, create space for others and also be a good screen-setter”.
“They were the more physical team today”, Wall said.
Brooks agreed, saying: “I thought we would come out better tonight”.
Boston finished the game with 16 out of 33 of their three point shot attempts going through the net. John Wall had 27 points with 12 assists and five steals to lead the Wizards while Bradley Beal had 29 points.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Beal, Otto Porter Jr.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks said he warned Kelly Oubre to wear earplugs for Game 5 after he served a one-game suspension for charging over Boston’s Kelly Olynyk.
It was the same script to open the fourth quarter, as the Celtics stretched their lead to 104-78 on Thomas’ nifty drive through four Wizards. “They’re definitely going to let him have it”.
“We took shots. We didn’t do a great job of getting back”, John Wall said.
Kind of like the “walk-off” hit in baseball and the “edge” pass-rusher in football, the “two-way player” in basketball is one of those sports terms that seemingly popped up out of nowhere in recent years and quickly became one of the media’s favorite phrases.
“We told him what we were going to expect from the crowd, (but) we didn’t think those type of words”.
That all sounds simple enough. except when you consider some of the players who seem like obvious “two-way player” contenders that aren’t often described as such. We (are) his brothers. “You’ve got to get back and not compound that miss with a defensive lapse”.
The Celtics guard came into that matchup with 86 points combined over the first two games of the series.
Game 6 of the series is Friday in Washington. If game seven is necessary, it will be on Monday in Boston.
The pressure on Thomas was manifested in Games 3 and 4 in Washington.
They were supposed to be beyond what transpired Wednesday, a 123-101 walloping in which their final lead was 4-2. However, Washington got after him harder in the third quarter as Thomas had just 2 points in the second half.