The Wizards put together their most impressive performance of the 2017 playoffs with a 116-89 win over the Celtics in an incredibly chippy game that featured eight technical fouls and three ejections.
Washington jumped out to another big first quarter lead, fueled by a 22-0 run midway through the quarter. While there were some brief moments of tension afterwards on the scoreboard, the game was effectively decided during that run. Unlike other games where the Wizards jumped out to big leads just by outscoring Boston, the Wizards really earned their big lead in this one with great defense from the jump.
While the victor of the game was decided very early in the game, it didn’t stop the Celtics and Wizards from getting in several altercations that should the stage for a very intense Game 4. First, Ian Mahinmi and Jonas Jerebko got into it, then Kelly Oubre REALLY got into it with Kelly Olynyk and got ejected, and then Brandon Jennings and Terry Rozier got ejected after multiple dustups.
Moving forward, the big question becomes who can get past the emotions of Game 3 and put the better foot forward for Game 4? The Wizards certainly made some good adjustments to change the tide of the series with how they attacked Isaiah Thomas on both ends, but you can bet the Celtics will have some adjustments of their own to try to get him going again and take a 3-1 lead back to Boston. It should make for some high drama on Sunday night.
Otto Porter finally gets going
Otto Porter’s finest game as a pro came against Boston the first time the Wizards met this season, when he went off for 34 points, 14 boards, 4 assists, 3 blocks, and 3 steals in a 118-93 win over the Celtics. However, that was in a game where the Celtics were missing Al Horford and Jae Crowder.
The Celtics were at full strength in this one, but Porter still had a big night. Boston tried to hide Isaiah Thomas on him defensively, and Porter made the Celtics pay for it all night long. He finished with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and a pair of assists. The only thing that kept Porter from getting more was how the game got out of hand so early.
We said Otto Porter needed to have a big series for Washington to advance, and he finally came through with a big game here. They’ll need even more the rest of the series to combat whatever adjustments Boston makes moving forward.
A few videos of John Wall being amazing
Whewww John Wall pocket pass pic.twitter.com/bV66WUDFLP— #JaValeAfterDark (@World_Wide_Wob) May 5, 2017
One potential area for concern
Before things got out of hand, Jae Crowder got off to a very good start, scoring 8 of the Celtics’ first 12 points and playing some solid defense against the much bigger Markieff Morris. It didn’t hurt them a lot in this game because of the mismatches the Wizards had elsewhere on the court, but it’s something the Wizards should still try to make an adjustment for, because odds are you’ll see Crowder on Morris quite a few more times in this series, especially in those late game situations.