The Washington Wizards picked up a much-needed win Thursday night at the Verizon Center, as they blew out the Boston Celtics 116-89 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series.
John Wall could not be contained. The Wizards point guard led all scorers with 24 points to go along with eight assists. Otto Porter Jr. (19 points), Bogan Bogdanovic (19 points) and Marcin Gortat (13 points, 15 rebounds) also had strong nights for Washington.
Boston couldn’t get anything going offensively. The C’s only had three players score in double figures, led by Al Horford’s 16 points. Isaiah Thomas was limited to only 13.
With the win, the Wizards cut the series deficit to 2-1.
Here’s how it all went down.
PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Gerald Green
C: Al Horford
As has been a theme through the first two games of the series, the Celtics got off to a terribly slow start. The Wizards closed the first quarter on a 27-5 run and held a 39-17 lead after the first 12 minutes. The Wizards excelled from beyond the arc, converting on five of six 3-point attempts, including a 3-for-3 line from Bogdanovic.
Washington had four players score seven points or more in the first frame, while Crowder (eight points) was the only Celtic to be above that threshold. The C’s only shot 37.5 percent from the field in the first quarter and committed six turnovers.
There’s no love lost between the Celtics and Wizards, and that was evidenced on multiple occasions in the second quarter. Less than a minute into the frame, Jonas Jerebko and Ian Mahinmi were forced to be separated after the two players mixed it up underneath the basket.
But the most egregious outburst came two minutes later by way of Kelly Oubre Jr. After Kelly Olynyk hit the Wizards forward with a hard screen, Oubre lost his mind and connected with a forearm shove to Olynyk’s chest.
Oubre was issued a Flagrant 2 foul for the incident and was ejected.
As for the game, things didn’t get much better for the Celtics, as the Wizards took a 63-40 lead into the break. Otto Porter Jr. was red-hot from the field, converting on seven of nine shot attempts and leading all scorers with 15 first-half points. Wall was in command for Washington, scoring 12 points to go along with five assists.
Crowder (10 points) was the lone Celtic to score in double figures through the first two quarters, as the Wizards held Thomas to only seven first-half points.
Unlike the previous two games of the series, Washington kept its foot on the gas to open the second half and held a 95-63 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Boston continued to be plagued by terrible 3-point shooting as it only converted on nine of 25 attempts from beyond the arc.
The Celtics had no answer for Wall, who matched his first-half total with 12 third-quarter points. Washington benefited off of Boston’s laziness with the basketball, as the C’s committed 13 turnovers through three quarters.
C’S WAVE WHITE FLAG
It wasn’t Boston’s night, and the Celtics opted to rest their starters for the entirety of the fourth quarter. The Wizards simply were the tougher team Thursday night, and their blowout victory illustrated that. After dropping the first two games in disappointing fashion, Washington responded with a convincing performance in Game 3.
PLAY OF THE GAME
We’re not sure how Thomas managed to sink this one.
The Celtics and Wizards will battle it out in Game 4 on Sunday night. Tip-off from the Verizon Center is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images