There was no miracle comeback this time. There was no Wizards collapse.

There was only complete domination by Washington in a must-have game to make this Eastern Conference semifinal series competitive. 

May 4, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) leaps to pass the ball as Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) defends in the first quarter in game three of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

John Wall and Kelly Olynyk were the center of attention in Washington’s blowout win in Game 3 Thursday. of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

There was no miracle comeback this time. There was no Wizards collapse.

There was only complete domination by Washington in a must-have game to make this Eastern Conference semifinal series competitive. 

John Wall had 24 points and eight assists while Otto Porter came out of the gates red-hot hitting his first seven shots and finishing with 17 points as the Wizards cruised to a 116-89 win at the Verizon Center in Washington Thursday night in Game 3. After 53 points Tuesday in Game 2 and 33 points in Game 1, Isaiah Thomas was held to 13 points and did not play the fourth quarter. 

The Wizards dominated the paint, outscoring the Celtics, 56-28, Marcin Gortat finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds. 

There was a near-brawl, pushing, shoving, trash-talking and three ejections that will set the tone for the rest of the series and undoubtedly up the ante going forward.  

In an ever-growing intense, physical battle between the two Eastern Conference rivals, Kelly Oubre took serious objection from a pair of screens set by Kelly Olynyk midway through the second quarter. Oubre got up off the court and immediately ran at Olynyk and shoved him to the court. 

That earned Oubre an immediate Flagrant 2 foul and ejection and no doubt, will merit a review from the league to determine his availability for Game 4 Sunday night in Washington. NBA director of discipline Kiki Vandeweghe was in attendance Thursday and will no doubt be busy reviewing the case in the next 24 hours. 

The Celtics have been remarkably consistent in the first quarter in this series. Remarkably bad. This time there was no coming back. The Celtics again were blown off the floor in the first quarter thanks to a 22-0 run that turned a 12-12 game into a 34-12 rout. 

Bojan Bogdanovic connected on all three 3-point attempts and John Wall and Bradley Beal attacked Isaiah Thomas in half-court and scored easy buckets in transition as the Wizards literally ran away from the Celtics for a third straight first quarter. 

The Wizards led 39-17 after the first 12 minutes. In the first three games of this series, the Wizards have outscored the Celtics 38-24, 42-29 and 39-17. 

The Oubre-Olynyk scuffle wasn’t the only confrontation in the first half. Jonas Jerebko attacked the basket on a drive and collided with big man Ian Mahinmi, seeing his first action of the series. Jerebko fell on Mahinmi and the Wizards big man took exception, getting up in Jerebko’s face. 

(For a full boxscore, click here)

Brad Stevens told ESPN after the first quarter that “we have to wake up before we have a chance to come back.” Stevens then told his team in the huddle that they weren’t going to get back in the game by “hitting home runs.” Apparently, Avery Bradley and Al Horford threw caution to the wind, hitting consecutive threes that temporarily cut Washington’s lead to 19, 55-36. But the Wizards attacked the paint on the next two possessions, driving the lead back to 23. The Wizards took a 63-40 lead to the half. 

The Celtics cut the lead to 18 to open the third quarter. But the Celtics missed their next six shots. 

Isaiah Thomas did not start the second half as Dr. Brian McKeon tended to his temporary bridge in his mouth.

The Wizards went up by 30, 85-55, on a John Wall three-point play with 4:07 to go in the third quarter. Wall set a new NBA playoff record in which he’s had 20 points and at least seven assists in 10 straight games.  

Stevens started resting his players late in the third quarter as Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Jae Crowder took a seat with the Celtics down 93-66 with a minute left in the third. 

The Celtics were again brutal on the offensive glass all night. They were careless taking care of the ball. Marcus Smart finished with eight turnovers in 21 minutes as Washington took a 95-69 lead into the fourth. 

With eight minutes left in the game, Terry Rozier and Brandon Jennings exchanged shoves, fouls and verbal insults. The initial contact drew the ire of Brad Stevens, telling the officials “that was all Jennings.” On the next play, Rozier was called for shoving Jennings to the ground and a foul was called on Rozier, causing Stevens to lose it on the sidelines in a rare moment of outrage. 

Rozier and Jennings were ejected from the game. 

The Celtics were beaten in nearly every aspect of the game Thursday night. During a timeout midway through the fourth quarter, Stevens kept reminding his team that there was something to play for, even down 19. 

“In games like this, you find out what you can take with you,” Stevens said in the huddle. “We’re taking something from this quarter to apply Sunday, regardless”

The Celtics still lead the series, 2-1, and can take a 3-1 lead back to Boston if they capture Game 4 Sunday night in Washington. Game 5 is set for Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at TD Garden. 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

TMZLeBron James says he’s never been target of racist taunts in Boston — but he feels for athletes who have — and says he’s PROUD of the fans and athletes trying to put a stop to it.

Isaiah Thomas scored 53 points to lead the Celtics to a 129-119 Game 2 win over the Wizards at TD Garden. Check out some photos from the game here.

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Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

 

Blog Author: 
Marisa Ingemi

Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics had a win to celebrate on Thursday over the Wizards (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)Chyna Thomas should've turned 23 on Tuesday.



How long can Isaiah Thomas keep this up? His 53-point performance Tuesday led the Celtics to a 129-119 overtime win over the Wizards in Game 2. He overcame 2 dental procedures and the heavy heart of what would’ve been his sister’s 23rd birthday. Mike Petraglia, Josue Pavon recap the epic night.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

The Celtics and Wizards series is getting down and dirty. It’s also turning into a classic after just two games. 

Isaiah Thomas, with his new smile, set a new personal playoff standard with 53 points, offsetting 40 from John Wall and the Celtics beat the Wizards, 129-119, in overtime in Game 2 Tuesday night at TD Garden. 

May 2, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) drives past Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) during the second quarter in game two of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Wizards point guard John Wall drives past Avery Bradley during the second quarter in game two of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden Tuesday night. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics and Wizards series is getting down and dirty. It’s also turning into a classic after just two games. 

Isaiah Thomas, with his new smile, set a new personal playoff standard with 53 points, offsetting 40 from John Wall and the Celtics beat the Wizards, 129-119, in overtime in Game 2 Tuesday night at TD Garden. 

The brilliant performance from Thomas was the greatest of his career and ranks among the greatest in the storied playoff history of the Celtics. 

There’s no other way to say it, the Celtics with Thomas look unstoppable and a team of destiny. 

The Celtics, who have won six straight games since their 0-2 hole against the Bulls, take a 2-0 series lead to Washington for Game 3 Thursday. Game 4 is Sunday, also in Washington. 

Bound and determined to not let another opportunity slip through their hands, the Wizards got physical and chippy at times to make their point. 

It was obvious early on that the Wizards had every intention of getting their best player involved much earlier than was the case in Game 1. There was no such wait in Game 2 as the Wizards, down a game, wanted to make sure they gave themselves to come out of Boston with a split, a split they thought they were getting after the first six minutes Sunday afternoon. 

In the series-opener, the Wizards relied on the physical dominance of Marcin Gortat to race out to leads of 16-0 and 22-5. John Wall didn’t get going until the second half, finishing with 20 points and 14 assists in the 123-111 Boston win. In the first six minutes Tuesday, Wall had 11 points and four assists. He finished the quarter with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. 

But with three minutes left in the quarter, Wall went up over Kelly Olynyk and fell over him, landing hard on the court. As he was bracing his fall, his left hand and wrist was caught under his body. He came up grimacing and holding the wrist but remained in the game, taking the next two possessions on drives to the basket.

Isaiah Thomas was nearly Wall’s equal. The Celtics point guard, who underwent dental surgery Monday to replace one of his eye teeth and repair another, was 6-of-10 in the first quarter with 15 points. 

(Click here for the full box score).

The Celtics committed seven turnovers in the first eight minutes as the Wizards converted that into eight points. Boston finished the quarter with nine turnovers that led to 10 Washington points. Unlike Sunday, when the Celtics closed the first quarter with momentum that started their rally, it was Washington that ended the first on a 13-8 run to take a 42-39 lead. 

There was another fascinating showdown besides Wall and Thomas. Markieff Morris came back from a sprained left ankle in Game 1 and started Game 2. Intent on showing his physical presence early, and perhaps retaliation for Al Horford’s foul that led to his injury, he threw Horford into the first row of seats under the basket in front of the Wizards bench just three minutes into the game. No foul was called. Moments later, as the teams returned from the timeout, Morris and Horford had words, with each staring the other down. 

It was Horford who got up on Morris in Game 1 to defend the forward as he took a mid-range 15-foot fadeaway. Morris came down awkwardly on Horford’s feet, badly turning his left ankle. He left Game 1 and did not return. Apparently, he was still holding a grudge.

The game settled down a bit in the second quarter, as the Celtics made a predictable run against the Wizards as the crowd was reaching ear-splitting decibels. 

The second quarter featured more rough and tumble play, leading to bumps and bruises. Otto Porter was fouled by Jae Crowder and fell to the court awkwardly, landing on his right elbow. He shook it off and stayed in the game to hit a pair of free throws. 

Then, with just under a minute left, Avery Bradley drove to the basket for an offensive rebound and put-back layup. As he got position under the basket, his right hip collided with Otto Porter under the basket. As he made his way up the court, he was holding the hip. He came out and headed to the locker room early to get ice and treatment. He came out to start the third quarter but left midway through the period as it tightened up again. 

Midway through the quarter, tempers flared as Isaiah Thomas was driving with the ball between a screen and fell to the floor, banging his mouth, with his newly-repaired teeth on the floor. Minutes later, Otto Porter took a shot to the face from Thomas and Porter began bleeding profusely from the nose. He would return later with a cotton ball in his nose to stop the bleeding. At that point, Thomas began yelling at the Washington bench, inciting an emotional response from Morris. 

With 9:02 left in the fourth quarter, Thomas took a feed from Horford and drained a corner three, drawing the Celtics within 2, 95-93, sending the TD Garden into pandemonium. 

With 8:28 left, Thomas hit another three, bringing the Celtics within one, 97-96. The Celtics kept charging, as Avery Bradley followed a missed three with a make with 7:08 left to give Boston its biggest lead to that point, 102-99. Thomas hit a layup with 5:23 left to put the Celtics up, 104-101. 

The Wizards would score the next nine points, featuring a pair of midrange jumpers from Morris and a block by Morris on Crowder. 

Down 110-104, Thomas hit a straightaway three to give him 40 points and bring the Celtics within three. Following a defensive stop, Terry Rozier drained a three with 1:38 left to tie the game again, 110-110. After a John Wall free throw gave Washington a one-point lead, Thomas drained a 20-footer over Morris for a 112-111 lead. Thomas stared down Morris all the back up the court. 

But it was Otto Porter who nailed a corner three on a good look from Gortat that put Washington up, 114-112 with 32.6 seconds remaining. 

Thomas was fouled by Gortat and responded with a pair of free throws with 14.4 seconds left to tie the game again. The Wizards had a chance to win it on the final possession of regulation but John Wall missed the jumper with three seconds left and Bradley Beal missed a put-back floater in the lane as time expired.

The Celtics looked the fresher of the two teams in overtime. Marcin Gortat reached over Marcus Smart, who hauled down an offensive rebound 30 seconds into overtime

Avery Bradley stripped the ball from an exhausted Wall and went in for the dunk with 2:22 left in overtime as the Celtics went up, 120-117. Thomas went in for a layup with 1:40 to put Boston up five, 122-117 and give him 48 points. After Oubre drew Kelly Oubre hit a field goal, Thomas came down, hit a shot with 1:07 left to give him 50 points. He was also fouled on the shot, fouling out Morris. Thomas hit the shot to give him 51 points and the Celtics a 125-119 lead. 

 

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Celtics have gone where no other team has gone in NBA playoff history. 

Not even the Golden State Warriors of the last two NBA finals appearances have mastered the art of the 3-pointer the way these Celtics have. 

Apr 30, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) shoots over Washington Wizards forward Jason Smith (14) during the second half of the Boston Celtics 123-111 win over the Washington Wizards in game one of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas shoots over Washington Wizards forward Jason Smith (14) during the second half of the Boston Celtics 123-111 win over the Washington Wizards in game one of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics have gone where no other team has gone in NBA playoff history. 

Not even the Golden State Warriors of the last two NBA finals appearances have mastered the art of the 3-pointer the way these Celtics have. 

Good thing, too, because most teams down 16-0 and 20-3 the way these Celtics were Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semis against Washington would have zero chance of coming back. 

And most players who got in on a red-eye nine hours before Game 1 after attending his sister’s funeral would have absolutely no ability to play let alone scoring a game-high 33 points in leading his team back to a 123-111 win. 

“I got in at 4 a.m. I tried to get as much sleep as I could on the flight and then when I got home this morning,” Isaiah Thomas said of his cross-country flight from Seattle. “It’s tough, but it’s the playoffs so there are no excuses. I decided to play and I just tried to give it all for my team and we came out with the win.”

But these Celtics are all about making history as Avery Bradley reminded us after Game 5 against the Bulls. 

The Celtics in the first round set a new NBA playoff series record with 76 three pointers. They started slowly in the first two games against the Bulls but then started to warm up from beyond the arc. In Games 4 and 5, they were 19-of-77 combined. On Friday, they were 16-of-39. Then it really all clicked Sunday. They converted 19-of-39 from beyond the arc. 

Are the Celtics finally finding their level from beyond the arc?

“Hope not. Hope we still have some level to find,” Brad Stevens said. “But we dug ourselves a pretty big hole shooting it in the first round; we did not shoot it great, except for two games. But hey, we’re going to have to shoot the ball in to be a good team. I mean, I think that the ability to space the floor, to open up lanes for drives for Isaiah and others, and then Al (Horford)’s rolls I think is really important. So you’re not going to make nineteen every night, but we took a lot of good ones and we got good ones for each other.”

There’s only team with this kind of attack to win an NBA championship. The 2015 Golden State Warriors with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green connected on 240 three-pointers through 21 playoff games on their way to the title. Through seven playoff games, the Celtics have 95. Multiply that by three and the Celtics would shatter the Warriors figure with 285 threes.

Celtics fans watching with pure ecstasy Sunday their team dismantle the Wizards after the 0-16 start now know precisely what those Golden State Warriors fans felt like the last two seasons. So many experts said there was no way any team could keep this up in the playoffs. There’s no way in the NBA playoffs any team could take 39 threes and make nearly half of them. 

In the 29 minutes following the 16-0 hole to start the game, Boston scored an astounding 91 points. Think about that. 91 points in a playoff game over two and a half quarters. 

“They were a little more aggressive than we were,” Bradley Beal said. “Our defense slipped a little, we lacked some IQ and focus. We gave up a lot of threes, I think 19. We gotta do a better job at guarding the three and being on the same page defensively.”

 “Yeah, I mean, I thought we were in trouble, obviously, the way that that game started,” Stevens added. “But it’s a long game and you know you’re only a run away from being right back in it. You know, I just think that you just stay the course. We were sloppy right out of the gate for the first five minutes. We can’t expect to play that way and be good for the rest of the series. But played well the rest of the time.”

In some ways this Celtics team might be even tougher than the Golden State team that won it all two years against Cleveland.

Just what happened to Isaiah Thomas alone on the eve of the playoffs has taken an emotional toll on him and his teammates. Then to be so outplayed on their home court by an inferior Bulls team and drop the first two games of the playoffs.

The Celtics heard the doubters loud and clear, as Brad Stevens more than clear after the Game 6 in Chicago. Now, emboldened by their 3-point assault, they actually think they have a chance to overcome anything. The Wizards, the Raptors, the Cavaliers. It doesn’t matter. The Spurs or the Warriors, if they get that far, won’t scare the Celtics either. 

Isaiah Thomas was asked, after the first win of the series, if the team ever doubted its potential. 

“It has at some points this season, but we always continue to just keep going,” Thomas said. “We know its not always going to be peaches and cream all the time. We’ve always played with our backs against the wall. Today we definitely didn’t want to be down 16-0 but it happens and we just locked in even more. We settled down, we executed on offense and we got stops and that’s how we got back into the game.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia