Celtics outclassed again, show no toughness in latest brutal collapse to Wizards

Celtics outclassed again, show no toughness in latest brutal collapse to Wizards

May 7, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) shoots as Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) and center Marcin Gortat (13) defend during the first quarter in game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Thomas shoots as Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) and center Marcin Gortat (13) defend during the first quarter in game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)

Well, give the Celtics this much: They waited a full half before they allowed the Wizards to crush them. 

Playoff caliber teams can get embarrassed every once in a while but what’s happening to the Celtics is inexcusable in any context. 

Three days after allowing a 22-0 spurt that allowed Washington to blow them out of the building, the Celtics outdid themselves, permitting the Wizards to score 26 straight points in an epic playoff meltdown.  

The Celtics lost Game 4 to the Wizards, 121-102, Sunday night at the Verizon Center. The Celtics lost a game because they quit in an embarrassing third quarter display. The Celtics lost a game in which they were outscored 58-20 after building a mirage of hope with a 40-28 second-quarter lead. 

The series is tied at 2-2 and the Celtics are lucky to be that close after allowing a 16-0 spurt to open the series in Game 1 and a 39-17 explosion by the Wizards in the first quarter of Game 2. Game 5 is set for Wednesday night in Boston. Game 6 will be Friday night back in Washington. 

All of this as Gerald Green was heard proclaiming, “We are going to beat their ass in Game 4,” after the Game 3 embarrassment last Thursday. Not quite the way it turned out. 

The Wizards again outclassed and embarrassed the Celtics on the glass and in the paint. The Wizards got into the paint with almost no resistance and despite starting Amir Johnson, there was zero presence on the glass. The Wizards outrebounded the Celtics, 45-31 and outscored Boston, 56-38, in the paint.  

“You guys are good. I didn’t think you’d be this good but let’s keep this up,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks told his team after they outscored Boston 42-20 in the third quarter. The Celtics self-destructed with nine turnovers in the third quarter, leading to 21 Wizards points, one more than the Celtics scored the entire period. 

“If you turn the ball over against these guys, you prefer to drop-kick it into the stands so you can at least set up your D,” Brad Stevens said after the game. 

The Wizards broke out to another fast start with an 8-0 run to start the game. But the Celtics took Washington’s punch this time and didn’t wait until the end of the first quarter to respond. 

(Click here for the full box score)

Isaiah Thomas connected on his first three 3-pointers while Al Horford had four assists and a block in the first eight minutes. Jae Crowder provided the toughness on the glass with four rebounds. 

Amir Johnson got his second start of the series and quickly picked up two fouls in the first five minutes. He also surrendered a pair of offensive rebounds to Marcin Gortat and was getting overwhelmed in the paint. 

After Washington got off another big start, the Celtics started coming back quickly. An 8-0 run put the Celtics ahead 20-15. 

Kelly Olynyk, fresh from his controversial appearance in Game 3, made his debut with two minutes left in the opening quarter. He was loudly booed every time he touched the ball, including a missed three with a minute left in the first quarter. 

Tomas Satoransky filled in for the suspended Kelly Oubre while another reserve, Ian Mahinmi tripped Olynyk with 27.2 seconds left in the first quarter. Olynyk missed his first free throw but converted his second, as Boston took a 24-20 lead in the second quarter, their first winning first quarter of the series. They had been outscored by 49 points in the previous three first quarters. 

Thomas continued his blistering shooting from deep to open the second quarter, hitting his first two from beyond the arc, building Boston’s lead to 30-20, forcing a timeout from Wizards coach Scott Brooks. While Thomas connected on his first first five threes, John Wall missed his first nine shots from the floor. 

Thomas scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half and didn’t get to the free throw line all night, as he came out of the game with just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter. 

Bradley Beal’s three ended Boston’s 10-0 run that put the Celtics in command of the game. The Celtics started the game hitting seven of their first 11 from 3-point range. Horford nailed a straightaway three to put Boston up, 40-28, with seven minutes left in the first half. 

Wall connected on his first field goal, a three with six minutes left in the second quarter, to cap a 9-0 run and draw the Wizards within five, 40-35. Wall continued warming up has he hit a pair of field goals to help close the Wizards within three, 42-39, as the only basket in the 11-2 Wizards run was a Bradley dunk. 

A pair of Porter free throws followed by a Wall layup gave the Wizards a 45-44 lead. After a Horford put-back, Wall hit a three for a 48-46 Washington lead. Horford put in a layup for a 48-48 tie and then Marcin Gortat blew a layup at the buzzer as the Wizards closed the half on a 20-6 run to get back in the game. 

Amir Johnson started the second half and gave the Celtics an immediate boost by scoring the first five points, putting the Celtics ahead, 53-48. Johnson’s three from the right corner with 11:10 left in the third would be the last meaningful Celtics field goal of the game. Boston went the next 6 minutes, 49 seconds without scoring a field goal. 

The bottom fell out as Washington scored the next 26 points to effectively seal the game and ensure there will be at least two more games in the series. 

All this means that the Celtics and Wizards will be battling each other while the Cleveland Cavaliers await the winner in the Eastern Conference finals. The Cavaliers swept the Raptors Sunday in Toronto, advancing to the conference finals for a fourth straight season. 

The Celtics do have home court advantage in this series, which is now a best-of-3. But if Games 3 and 4 are any indication, it won’t matter much. 



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Source: GreenStreet Blog

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