A 39-point first quarter set the tone for the Washington Wizards on Thursday night. Down 2-0 to the Boston Celtics, the Wizards took advantage from the very tip on their home floor and took home the victory, 116-89.
Along the way, the rivalry between Washington and Boston deepened significantly.
The first half was marred by a ridiculous sequence between Kelly Oubre Jr. and Kelly Olynyk. Oubre had been knocked down on a hard screen earlier in the first half, and 9:11 left in the second quarter Olynyk laid him out with a second one that included a high elbow.
Oubre did not enjoy that, and wound up rushing at Olynyk at full speed, trucking the Celtics forward to the ground. After review, Oubre was ejected and Olynyk was given an offensive foul.
That was just the first ejection.
Despite little help from their bench, the Wizards starters far outplayed their opposition in the second half. John Wall scored 24 points to go along with eight assists and three steals. Marcin Gortat looked reinvigorated, scoring 13 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.
The Celtics, meanwhile, couldn’t get it going offensively. Isaiah Thomas had just 13 points on eight shots, and no Boston player recorded a double-digit statistic outside of scoring.
Washington had double the amount of points the Celtics scored in the paint, and handily won the rebounding battle as Boston shot just 35 percent from the field.
Both Scott Brooks and Brad Stevens earned technical fouls in the fourth quarter as well, as things boiled over for a decimated Celtics team.
Washington was picked by many to be the winner of this series, and unearthly performances by Isaiah Thomas might have put a damper on that after the first two games. But the Wizards came out and showed who they were — even with a thin bench — on their home court.
Game 4 isn’t until Sunday in Washington D.C., so we’ll have to wait and see what these coaches cook up as they try to adjust to each other and apply some ice to their swelling bruises.