NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics Defeat Washington Wizards, Avery Bradley Shines
The Boston Celtics returned home for game five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The series with the Washington Wizards was tied at 2-2 going into this game. Neither team has won an away game so far in this series. That gave the Boston Celtics even more of an advantage. They won the first two games at home and they could continue to do so here.
In the first quarter, the Celtics jumped out to a nice lead. The quarter ended with them up 33-21. The Celtics excelled at getting points in transition. Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas were both out to a great start. Thomas racked up four assists in the first quarter and Bradley provided the points. The Wizards struggled on offense in the first quarter and in turn, it made them struggle on defense. They weren’t getting back and that was giving the Celtics all of the transition opportunities that they capitalized on.
The second quarter continued to go the Celtics’ way. Jae Crowder started off the quarter strong and even banked in a three because things were just going his way. Al Horford came up with some blocks for the Celtics, even though one still resulted in a lay up for the Wizards. For the Wizards, Kelly Oubre Jr. did his best to pester Thomas. John Wall was the first of the Wizards to hit double digits points. The Celtics went into halftime up 16 on the Wizards with a score of 67-51.
Avery Bradley dismantled the Wizards in the first half. He went off for 25 points, his career high for the playoffs, and did it on 10-13 shooting and 4-5 from three. He had more pointed than John Wall and Bradley Beal combined. This offset the fact that Thomas was not having a great shooting half, going just 1-4. As a team, the Celtics were shooting at 58.1 percent, while the Wizards were shooting at 38.5 percent. From three, the Celtics were at 57.1 percent and the Wizards were at 26.7 percent (stats courtesy of ESPN). That’s a huge difference on both fronts. And the Celtics got it done on the defensive end with five blocks and four steals in the first half.
Al Horford scored the first points of the second half with a three-pointer. Avery Bradley had a technical foul on him after he didn’t like an out of bounds call in favor of the Wizards. He was either upset they called it Wizards ball or that there wasn’t a foul called. Either way, that didn’t put a damper on his scoring. Halfway through the quarter, he had 29 points. He might not have been scoring as much as he did in the first two quarters, but he remained effective. The Celtics ended the quarter with a 17-point lead. The score was 93-76. The Celtics almost had 100 points going into the fourth quarter and 29 of them came from Bradley. Thomas got to 10 points in the third, but he still remained less of a threat on offense only shooting 3-7.
The Wizards tried to make a comeback, but the Celtics were just too far ahead going into the fourth quarter for that. The Celtics put on a show for their home crowd on both ends of the floor. With a little over four minutes to go, both teams mostly subbed out their current lineups to give their starters a rest in a game that was already over. The Wizards shot less than 30 percent from three and less than 40 percent from the field. Game 6 will take the teams back to Washington, where the Celtics will either wrap up the series or we’ll see a game seven. The final score was 123-101.
[Featured Image by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]