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Top Stories of the Week: The Wizards are down but not out vs. the Celtics

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Boston Celtics v Washington Wizards - Game Three Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The second round of the NBA Playoffs are still under way, and we have a tough playoff series against the Celtics! Let’s get to this week’s storylines:

The Wizards are down 2-1 to the Celtics after three games

NBA: Playoffs-Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

After beating the Hawks, 4-2 in their first round playoff series, the Wizards faced their rival, the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Wizards have had a habit of starting strong but finishing games quite poorly — at least in Boston. They led all three games after the first quarter, which makes me happy because I like getting discounted McGriddles sandwiches at McDonald’s the next day. I had three of those this week!

But in Game 1 last Sunday, the Celtics had a killer third quarter to end up with a 123-111 win over the Wizards. Markieff Morris also got injured by hurting his ankle in the game. Fortunately, the injury wasn’t serious enough for him to miss the next game.

In Game 2 last Tuesday, it was de ja vu. The Wizards got off to a hot start. John Wall even scored 40 points. But Isaiah Thomas scored 52 to lead Boston to a 129-119 overtime win. That loss made us scratch our heads. We had a roundtable on how the Wizards could slow down Thomas, which Marcus Atkinson Sr. also pointed out before that game. Kyle Andrews analyzed some of Morris’ comments after that game. And there was also some questionable late game decisions.

So, we headed to Game 3 at Verizon Center on Thursday. The Wizards were off to the races and didn’t look back as they raced to a 116-89 blowout win. Like the first two games, Washington led early and they made a 22-0 run in the first quarter. But they didn’t give it up this time.

If there’s something we should keep an eye on, it’s the physicality. There were three ejections on Thursday, when Kelly Oubre was ejected in the first half after getting shoved by Celtics post Kelly Olynyk. Brandon Jennings and Terry Rozier were ejected in the second half.

I’d imagine that the officiating will be very tight on Sunday for Game 4. As Mike Sykes pointed out in his post Game 3 piece, both teams acknowledged that they don’t like each other. SB Nation’s Mike Prada also added more analysis on why they do.

The Wizards are giving D.C. a reason to stand behind them

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It sounds like hyperbole, because the Wizards have a strong fanbase. That’s why you and I are here. However, as many of us are too aware, the team is solidly in 4th place among the “Big Four” teams in Washington for fan enthusiasm.

Mike Prada wrote this column on Thursday on the gradual big picture transformation of this team over the years. If you didn’t have time to read this already, please do! It’s really good.

And more links

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
  • Before we got into the playoff series with the Celtics, we had a little time to reflect on the first round series victory against Atlanta. John Wall scored 42 points in Game 6 last Friday, 19 of them in the fourth quarter to close the game out. Yes, Wall’s been in three playoff series and made the second round each time. However, this is the first time where he’s single handedly dominated a game to completion that catches the national eye.
  • Markieff Morris was injured in Game 1 of the Celtics series, but he’s still managed to play in every game since them. Some have suggested that Markieff’s twin brother Marcus, who’s on the Pistons, played for him. I find that unlikely, but the two have switched before. Andrew Joseph of For the Win has more. Scott Allen of The Washington Post also wrote that Marcus denies playing for Markieff during the NBA Playoffs.
  • The Wizards brought back the “You Da Man” song, which features the current team and local celebrities.
  • Even before the overtly-physical antics of Game 3 came about, Morris shoved Al Horford off the court during Game 1. Horford ended up close to Ted Leonsis’ lap.
  • Ice Cube created a new 3 on 3 league called the Big 3. There are a lot of former Wizards in that league’s draft In fact, nearly half of the team has someone who once wore a Wizards uniform. We’ll be able to see Big 3 action this summer.
  • Akbar wrote about the necessity for Otto Porter to have a strong second round series for the Wizards to end up victorious.
  • Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post detailed on John Wall’s mean mugging becoming social media sensations. For that matter, Wall’s also known for his trash talking, from this column by Haley O’Shaughnessy of The Ringer.
  • FanPost here on Caron Butler, who’s been doing a lot of broadcasting work lately.
  • Finally, Bradley Beal flopped in Game 3 against the Celtics. It was quickly spoonfed to SB Nation’s Lookit team who made light of the situation. These are ... pretty cool!

Alright, these are just some of the many stories that came out during the Wizards vs. Celtics playoff series. Of course, they aren’t the only ones. If you have another link you’d like to share, please do so in the comments or as a FanPost.

We’ll see you on Sunday for Game 4.