The Washington Wizards are capable of scoring points in bunches with one of the best starting lineups in the NBA, and the Boston Celtics have found that out firsthand in their second-round playoff series.
The Wiz took control of Sunday night’s Game 4 at the Verizon Center with a 26-0 third-quarter run that stunned the Celtics. Boston couldn’t recover as the Wizards evened the series with a 121-102 win.
The Wizards’ 26-0 run shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise. They have hit the C’s with prolonged scoring bursts in each game of this series.
Washington’s huge run Sunday was one of the most dominant stretches of playoff basketball we’ve seen in a while.
During that 26-0 barrage, the Wizards shot 10-for-13 with five steals. A lot of their baskets came in transition or on drives to the basket as the Celtics’ defense didn’t play with much energy or focus. The Celtics went 0-for-5 from the field with just two rebounds, eight turnovers and a pair of shot clock violations during the 26-0 run. The Wizards scored 19 of those 26 points off Celtics turnovers.
Trading runs is commonplace in the postseason. No lead is safe. But for some reason, the Celtics have been more susceptible than most teams to giving up loads of points in short spans and not being able to recover. When the Wizards have gone on 22-plus point runs in each of the last two games, the Celtics’ shot selection, ball security and defensive awareness all have crumbled.
The Celtics led 40-28 at one point in the second quarter. They went into the fourth quarter down 90-68 after a 62-28 Washington run.
Boston needs to figure out how to slow down Washington’s momentum when it goes on one of these high-scoring runs, because it’s probably going to happen again in this series. Whether it’s Celtics coach Brad Stevens calling one or more timeouts, or trying to slow down the game by going to half-court sets on offense, the C’s cannot allow games to be decided in short spans where everything breaks down for them.
Boston must be more mentally tough when Washington hits them with big runs or this series will not last much longer.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports Images