In the first quarter of Celtics-Wizards Game 5, points scored within seven seconds of Washington attempting a layup – including points scored on those layups themselves:
- Celtics: 9
- Wizards: 8
Boston played stout defense at the rim and turned those stops, which often left a Wizard behind the play under Celtics’ basket, into transition points and separated itself early in a 123-101 win Wednesday. The Celtics, who led by 22 midway through the second quarter and were never seriously challenged from there, now lead the second-round series 3-2.
The home team has won each game in the series. Game 6 is Friday in Washington.
When teams up 3-2 in a 2-2-1-1-1 series face a road Game 6, they have won the series 92 percent of the time:
Al Horford (19 points on 8-of-9 shooting, seven assists, six rebounds and three blocks) and Isaiah Thomas (18 points and nine assists) provided plenty of help. Bradley, Horford and Thomas made 9-of-16 3-pointers (56 percent) – and their teammates made 7-of-17 3s (48 percent). Stop their primary scorers, and the Celtics – who had 33 assists – swung the ball to an open shooter.
Neither Wall (21 points on 7-of-17 shooting) nor Bradley Beal (16 points on 7-of-19 shooting) generated enough offense for the Wizards to keep up. For the first time this series, Washington didn’t have a huge run. The Wizards’ best run while keeping Boston scoreless:
- Game 1: 16-0
- Game 2: 14-0
- Game 3: 22-0
- Game 4: 26-0
- Game5: 7-0
Credit the Celtics’ transition defense, vastly improved from Games 3 and 4, for shutting down Washington before it got rolling.
The Wizards are 5-0 at home in these playoffs, and perhaps returning to Washington for Game 6 will cure them. But they’re also 1-5 on the road.
Boston, with a 3-2 lead and a home Game 7 if necessary, ought to feel pretty good right now about advancing.