Domingo, 17 Febrero, 2019

Celtics one win away from Conference Finals

Avery Bradley takes charge as Celtics wrest control of series with rout of Wizards Boston guard Avery Bradley plays 30 minutes making field goal attempts including 4 for 7 from beyond the arc. AP
Montrelle Montesinos | 16 May, 2017, 17:20

That makes you believe that the team we saw last night is who they are, and who they will be again when they meet in D.C. Friday. The Wizards were more familiar with the Celtics' offense when they returned home to Washington, and their defense looked transformed.

Even though his team is averaging about 30 more points in Boston than in Washington during this series, Celtics coach Brad Stevens insisted that the venue isnt the most important factor in a games outcome. After all the heat the C's took from their embarrassing losses in Washington, it was nice to see them return the favor and blow the Wizards out in Boston. With the series tied at two games apiece, the victor of this game would head into Friday's Game 6 in a good position to close out the series. The Celtics balanced attack came early and often, as the C's dropped 33 points in the first quarter. They didn't in Washington's wins, but with the point guard playing more of a distributor role, other Celtics came alive with the series back in Boston.

NOTES: Celtics G Isaiah Thomas was fined $25,000 by the National Basketball Association for "directing inappropriate language toward a fan" in Washington during Game 4. "We didn't have the focus we had to have going into this game. You've played into the baskets 41 times during the regular season, so the rims, the court, everything's familiar", he said. Isaiah Thomas failed to score 20 points for a third straight game, and he'll need to put up points in order for the Celtics to keep pace on the road.

"[Celtics fans are] gonna do what they want to do", Wizards star John Wall said during his post-game press conference.

Washington's Kelly Oubre Jr, who was suspended for Game Four after running into Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk, heard chants about himself before he entered the game in the second quarter.

John Wall led the Wizards with 21 points, Bradley Beal had 16 and Otto Porter added 13. Bradley has earned the respect and the praise of some of the league's best players, but for the first time in his career none of that was enough.

However, I do expect the home team to prevail in Game 6 of this series. But the Washington guards combined to go 14 of 36 from the floor and two of seven from three-point range. He's also had three games in which he's recorded three or more steals.

"We have to stay in the moment", Thomas said. If Washington is to buck that trend, it needs to hustle to make plays at home Friday night and have that carry over to Monday night at TD Garden.

The Celtics are now 22-5 in their last 27 home games. Stevens told reporters, "I think that if he could take it back he would". With his defender hugging him and refusing to leave him - the Wizards pick Thomas up full-court as a way of taking the ball out of his hands immediately - the Celtics can use that to their advantage by forcing other defenders to wiggle their way around a screen or to draw the attention of multiple defenders as opposed to just one or two. "We've got to just defend". Bradley said he took some comments made by Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler between games personally.

Washington's head coach Scott Brooks also gave his two cents about the opposing team and said "They made shots".

Oubre was returning to Boston for the first time since being suspended for his brush-up with Celtics center Kelly Olynyk in Game 3 of the National Basketball Association playoff series. Later they booed him loudly when he touched the ball.

In the first quarter, the Celtics led the Wizards 15-0 in transition points, a surprising statistic given just how good Wall is at orchestrating that part of the game.