Celtics one win away from Conference Finals

Sandy Mccarthy
May 19, 2017

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) drives the ball against Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) during the second quarter in game five of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. "I think that's big", Bradley said Friday morning at shootaround, hours before his team's first chance to push the Washington Wizards out of the playoffs. In Boston's three wins, Wall has a plus/minus of minus-17.

Avery Bradley scored 29 points and grabbed six rebounds to help the Celtics beat the Wizards, 123-101. The margin never dipped below eight over the final 41 minutes. However, in the three games the Celtics have worn the home whites, they've won by an average of 14.6 points, and now own a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series. We've got to play with great effort. Bradley has always been a leader and veteran of this team, but that has not been because of what he says publicly. "Everyone was prepared, and that is what it's all about". We know it's going to be a hostile environment.

Isaiah Thomas is Boston's star player, but it's become clear this postseason that Horford is their leader. Boston can not allow the Wizards to push them around down low and get to those "50-50" balls.

The Washington Wizards are on the brink of elimination, trailing three games to two in their second-round series against the Boston Celtics. Al Horford had 19 points and seven assists, while Jae Crowder matched Thomas with 18 points. He's been nothing short of spectacular over Boston's 11 postseason games, averaging 15.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists.

One thing has been made clear during this series: Isaiah Thomas can not beat the Wizards on his own. By limiting turnovers and fastbreaks by scoring points and forcing the Celtics to inbound on most possessions, the Celtics won't be able to break down Washington's half-court defense as they did on Wednesday, leading to turnovers and easy baskets like Washington had during that incredible 26-0 run in the third quarter of Game 4. You would have thought we time-warped back to the mid-'80s and Earvin "Magic" Johnson stepped onto the floor. "We didn't have the focus we had to have going into this game. We knew that they were going to come out aggressive and they did".

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Wizards center Ian Mahinmi steals the ball from Celtics forward Jaylen Brown. Bradley has earned the respect and the praise of some of the league's best players, but for the first time in his career none of that was enough. Washington shot 38.5 percent from the field and a dismal 7 of 29 from beyond the arc.

"Um, I still hear my name ringing in my head because that's all I heard when I was on the court, but I was just going out there to play", Oubre told reporters, according to The Washington Post.

One reason why Horford shot so well last game was because of Thomas' ability to get him open. They made adjustments, it must have been something they saw in the film, and they killed us with it in the first quarter. "We had no answers for those guys".

That tactic only works if other players on the Celtics can step up and make shots, of course. He scored 25 points in the first half of the game that piled up 22 points against the opponent. Bradley himself confirmed he sent that message to Gortat, and then in game five he sent a message to the rest of the league that he needs to be taken seriously.

Other reports by BadHub

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