NBA Playoffs Preview: Celtics vs. Wizards - Game 5
That escalated quickly. After 2 convincing wins in Boston, the Celtics find themselves on the wrong side of the momentum fence after getting shellacked 2 games in a row down here in DC. John Wall has looked unstoppable and Wizard's starting lineup as a whole has looked like the most complete group in the league. Ever since IT dropped 53 points in Game 2, he's been held in check aside from starting Game 4 a perfect 5/5 from the three point arc. He pretty much didn't even score after that. I said in my last piece that in both regular season and postseason matchups between these two teams, the home team has won every single game. Hopefully that still holds true on Wednesday night.
Any real basketball fan knows that this is a game of runs. Unless it's pure dominance from wire to wire, both teams are going to go on a run at some point during the game. The problem with the Celtics has been their inability to stop these huge scoring runs that Washington has gone on. In the first 3 games, the run has happened right out of the gate. So in Game 4, you can tell Boston put an extra emphasis on starting strong to avoid having to dig themselves out of an early hole. Problem is, you can't just focus so much on the 1st quarter than you forget about the 3rd quarter. A 26-0 run in the 3rd quarter of Game 4 single handedly was the reason that Boston lost that game because they couldn't recover. I remember being up by 11 in the 2nd quarter and thinking to myself "man, if we still this game this shit could be over next game in Boston". I, much like the Celtics, got way too comfortable way too early. We have yet to put 4 quarters of good basketball together in this series, and now that it's a best of 3 that needs to happen now.
IT hasn't scored nearly as much as he did through the first 2 games, but that isn't his fault at all. Washington is devoting two (and sometimes three) defenders to him anytime he has the ball in his hands. If you watch him drive the lane, literally all 5 of the Wizards players focus their attention on him. We had at least a million open shots on Sunday created by all the attention paid to IT, and no one could knock down any shots. Kelly Olynyk clearly let the crowd's boos get in his head because him and his dumb ass man bun couldn't hit shit despite being wide open the whole game. Isaiah is making the right play almost every time, guys just need to step up and make the shots. I know IT just can't wait until this summer so he can see what type of help he's gonna have going into next season.
On offense for us it really just comes down to making open shots because we're getting great looks. It's not like they're doing anything crazy on defense that we can't figure out; role players just play better at home which is why we won the first 2 and they won the second two. But something needs to be done about John Wall and I think mirroring Avery Bradley's minutes with his is what needs to happen. I like the adjustment Brad made in Game 4 putting Avery on Wall and IT on Beal. If either one of those two are going to be allowed to go off, you'd much rather it be Beal. With the Wizards' lack of depth, this team needs to stop shooting jumpshots for 5 minutes and try to get these guys in foul trouble with penetration. That's pretty much the reason we won game 2, because by OT Gortat had fouled out and Morris had 5 fouls.
I'm hoping that the switch Brad makes in Game 5 is inserting Jaylen Brown into the lineup. I know he's a rookie, but he's young and athletic and you need athletes to be able to keep up with Washington's speed. Putting Amir Johnson out there is basically dead weight, and Gerald Green is only athletic on one side of the ball. Also look for Brad to use IT as a screener in pick and roll situations as opposed to the primary ball defender to open up looks for our big men. But no greater adjustment needs to be made than simply just knocking down shots, which our home crowd might help out a bit with.
This is going to be a busy week or so for the Celtics, with this series closing out and the lottery on the 16th. So let's hope for a win against the Wizards and a win in the draft.