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Wizards vs. Celtics Game 5 preview: Washington heads to Boston for pivotal game

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

After back-to-back blowout wins at Verizon Center, the Wizards take on the Celtics Wednesday evening in what will be the most important game in Washington’s franchise history since 1979.

Washington held leads by 14+ points during Games 1 and 2 in Boston. Let’s hope the Wizards hang on in this one, as they’ll need to win at least one game on the road to take down the Celtics.

Game Info

When: Wednesday, May 10th at 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Injury Report

Celtics: None

Wizards: None

What to watch for

Can the Wizards contain Thomas for the third time?

After a quick explosion in Game 4 where Isaiah Thomas knocked down his first five three-point attempts, the Wizards held him in check as he only scored four points for the rest of the game. The Wizards have thrown a variety of looks at Thomas. They’ve tried matching Wall, Beal, Porter, and Oubre (in Game 3) on him. They’ve thrown double teams at Thomas and are much more physical with him when he’s playing off the ball. He didn’t get the foul calls in Game 4, but that will likely change as things head back to Boston.

It’s not breaking news but if the Wizards slow down Thomas, that gives them a great chance to win the game. The question is, can they do it in Boston?

The Wizards will need a big game from Bradley Beal to win this one

After three subpar games, Beal showed up big time in Game 4 with a team-high 29 points including going 3-6 from three-point range. Beal has struggled a bit from distance as he’s shooting just 34.6 percent (9-26) for the series. Washington made it a point to get him going early on by running plays for him and for the sharp shooter to curl off screens for open three-point looks. Beal stayed in attack mode in the second half as he was matched up against Thomas and went at him in the post.

Beal proved that he was a max player during the regular season as he put up career-highs. A statement game against the Celtics in Boston will only validate the then risky decision to pay Beal that enormous $128 million dollar contract.

The Wizards need to treat this like a Game 7

As the Wizards face the most important game in franchise history in nearly 40 years, the Wizards need to treat this as such. Because the odds are not in a team’s favor for closing out Game 7’s on the road. As a result, I would not be surprised to see the starters play heavy minutes Wednesday evening, as the Wizards do not want to come back to Boston again with everything on the line.

Most Likely Wizards Killer: Marcus Smart

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

Smart was awful in the two games in D.C. Expect Smart to player better in Game 5 because like most role players, they tend to play better at home. When the crowd is roaring in your favor, the loose balls tend to bounce your way and the three-point shots tend to fall. Smart has the potential to be a wild card in this game.