When: Friday, May 12 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Verizon Center in Washington D.C.
What to watch for
What adjustments can the Wizards make?
The Wizards have kept Isaiah Thomas in check for three straight games, but in Game 5, the Celtics exploited that to get Al Horford and Avery Bradley going. They combined for 48 points on just 28 shots. Horford also chipped in 9 assists and 3 blocks as he controlled things on both ends.
Boston’s efficiency created two problems for Washington:
- It’s hard to keep up with a team that posts a 123.9 offensive rating. The Wizards only had three games all season where they posted a better mark.
- When a team scores that effectively, it’s almost impossible to push the tempo. You can’t create fast break opportunities if you’re constantly inbounding the ball after the other team makes a shot.
What kind of game will the referees call?
At this point, I’m not really sure if the Wizards benefit more from a game where lots of calls are made or one where the referees try to swallow their whistles. If the refs don’t call a lot, it probably means Markieff Morris stays out of foul trouble and Isaiah Thomas doesn’t get as many calls, but it gives the Celtics’ more opportunities to jostle John Wall and Bradley Beal.
If the game is called more like what we saw when the Wizards played Hawks in the first round, there are pros and cons to that as well. It would give Wall and Beal more chances to score effectively, but more foul calls make it harder for the Wizards to get into they kind of rhythm it takes to go on one of those backbreaking runs. It’s also harder to go on a run if Markieff Morris is in foul trouble.
Can the Wizards avoid another repeat?
The Wizards’ playoff runs in 2014 and 2015 ended with a loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the top seed in the conference. It would be nice if that didn’t happen again.
Most Likely Wizards Killer: Jae Crowder
Crowder didn’t play well in Game 3 or 4 at the Verizon Center, but after Avery Bradley’s breakout performance in Game 5, he’s probably going to get more open looks in this one. If he knocks them down ... well, that might not be good.