The 2017 NBA playoffs have been a showcase of John Wall’s entrance to superstardom.
The Washington Wizards point guard continued his dominant postseason play Sunday night against the Boston Celtics. He scored 27 points with 12 assists and five steals to help the Wizards win Game 4 121-102 and even their second-round series at two games apiece.
Wall had a horrible start to Game 4. He missed his first nine shots and didn’t score until he hit a pair of free throws 5:18 into the second quarter. His first basket came 6:12 into the second quarter.
But like all great players, Wall didn’t get discouraged and kept pushing the pace and attacking the Celtics in transition. His 13 third-quarter points sparked a 26-0 Wizards run that ultimately crushed the Celtics’ hopes of taking a 3-1 series lead.
Wall is averaging 27.8 points, 12.3 assists and 2.8 steals per game in this series.
The Celtics have had very few answers for Wall, and the task of guarding him clearly is taking a toll on Avery Bradley’s offensive production.
One strategy the Celtics could consider with Wall is playing off him on the perimeter and hoping he shoots from the outside. He’s converted on just 26.9 percent of his 3-point shots in the series.
The C’s will need to come up with some defensive adjustments, or Wall is going to lead Washington to its first conference finals appearance since 1979.
Here are some other notes from Celtics-Wizards Game 4:
— Home teams are 4-0 with an average margin of victory of 17 points in this series.
— Jae Crowder played poorly in Game 4. He scored just six points and went 0-for-3 from beyond the arc. The Celtics forward is 2-for-10 on 3-point shots over the last three games.
— Isaiah Thomas has largely been contained by Washington’s defense since exploding for 53 points in Game 2. The Celtics guard scored 17 points in the first 15:01 of Game 4, then added just two more for the remainder of the game.
Thomas scored 86 points over the first two games, but he’s totaled just 32 in the last two contests. It’s hard for the Celtics to win when he doesn’t tally at least 20 points because they don’t have anyone else capable of consistently creating their own offense.
— Kelly Olynyk’s status as a villain was confirmed early when Wizards fans booed him with his first touch of the ball. Olynyk continued to hear boos from the crowd throughout the game, but he played pretty well with 14 points in 23 minutes.
Wizards forward Kelly Oubre violently shoved Olynyk in Game 3 and was suspended for Game 4 as a result.
— Terry Rozier led Boston’s bench with 16 points in 22 minutes. He also grabbed seven rebounds and went to the free-throw line seven times. The second-year guard has tallied six or more rebounds in three of four games in this series, as well as two games with double-digit points. Celtics coach Brad Stevens should look to get Rozier more involved in Game 5.
— The Celtics committed 18 turnovers, leading to 34 points for the Wizards.
— Bradley Beal played his best game of the series and led all players with 29 points on 11-for-16 shooting. It was a much-needed improvement for the Wizards after the young shooting guard scored just 25 points on 8-for-27 shooting in Games 2 and 3 combined.
— The Wizards’ starting lineup outscored the Celtics’ 96-48. Washington also out-rebounded Boston 45-28.
— The Cleveland Cavaliers swept their second-round series against the Toronto Raptors with a 109-102 Game 4 win Sunday afternoon. The Cavs are 8-0 in the playoffs and will get at least a week of rest before the conference finals.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports Images