Things looked good for the Washington Wizards in the beginning.
In Game 1 in Boston on Sunday, John Wall and friends jumped out to a 16-0 lead. The Celtics looked lost, but somewhere along the way, Brad Stevens’ side woke up.
A literally toothless Isaiah Thomas poured in 33 points and the C’s connected on a franchise-tying-record 19 three-pointers on their way to a 12-point win. The Wizards hope to start well again, but they’ll have to hold off the Celtics in the second half this time if they wish to go back to D.C. with the series tied.
When: Tuesday, May 2 at 8 P.M. Eastern
Where: TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
TV: TNT - Ian Eagle, Greg Anthony and David Aldridge have the call.
Wizards: Candace Buckner of The Washington Post reports that Ian Mahinmi (calf) is out and there isn’t a timetable for his return. Buckner says the big man hasn’t participated in practice, shootaround or even a walk-through. As for Markieff Morris, who injured his ankle in game one, he appears to be day-to-day. He sat out of practice Monday, but told Buckner, “I’m playing tomorrow. It’s final.”
Celtics: They’re good.
What to Watch for
There are a few things. Let’s start off with Boston’s three-point shooting: In the Wizards’ four previous meetings with the Celtics this season before Game 1, Boston shot better than 32 percent from three and made more than 10 shots from outside just once - on Jan. 12, when Boston topped Washington 117 to 108.
So, what happened in those two games? What caused the Celtics to go bananas from three? One thing that jumps out is the Celtics, in both games, got several of their three-pointers from big men.
In the January game, Al Horford, Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk combined for 8-of-15 from three. On Sunday, the large trio went 9-of-13 from outside.
Thomas draws a lot of attention when he drives inside, and the Wizards’ big men aren’t the best at defending the perimeter. The Celtics’ stellar passing makes this a recipe for defensive disaster.
With Morris perhaps out, but at least pretty banged up, how the Wizards defend the outside shot could decide the game.
Most Likely Celtics Killer: Kelly Olynyk
Sticking with the theme of bigs who can stretch the floor here, Kelly Olynyk was a problem for the Wizards in Game 1 and that might not change in Game 2. The 7-footer from Canada scored 12 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out 2 assists in just 18 minutes of play, giving Boston a nice boost off the bench.
Over his career, Olynyk has played pretty well against the Wizards. According to Basketball Reference, the former 13th overall pick averages 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per-game against the Wizards, a team he’s faced 15 times. He also shoots better than 35 percent from three against Washington.
Also, he has a man-bun, so he can’t be trusted.