The Boston Celtics are just one victory away from reaching their first Eastern Conference Finals since the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
The Boston Celtics continued their home-court mastery over Washington, taking charge early and going on to beat the Wizards 123-101 yesterday morning (Singapore time) to grab a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-final play-off series.
Wizards guard John Wall goes to the basket against Celtics forward Amir Johnson (90) during Game 5 on Wednesday night. Avery Bradley top-scored with 29 points, as Al Horford (19), Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas (18 each) all impressed.
Following the win, Celtics coach Brad Stevens spent a lot of time talking about objective, something his team showed plenty of in Game 5 to get the win. "It was just a good adjustment that we made". It's just basically what we've been doing and just trying, you know, to get the ball out of his hands.
"We have to be better in our cuts, we have to play with a higher motor in our cuts, and we have to attack in some unique ways", Stevens added. They didn't in Washington's wins, but with the point guard playing more of a distributor role, other Celtics came alive with the series back in Boston.
After the San Antonio Spurs closed out their series against the Houston Rockets on the road in emphatic fashion, the Boston Celtics will look to do the same tonight as they hit the road for Game 6 against the Washington Wizards. If the Boston-Washington series goes seven games, the victor meets the Cavaliers next Wednesday.
Wall limped his way to 21 points on 7-for-17 shooting and didn't get much help from the rest of his team.
Isaiah Thomas can drop 40 points on any given night, but as we saw in Games 3 and 4 in Washington, the Celtics break down offensively when Thomas can't get going. He is shooting 50.5% from the field and 43.2% (19-44) from three-point range in these victories.
"We told him what we were going to expect from the crowd, (but) we didn't think those type of words". It can't happen again if they make a return trip. He attempted nine shots as opposed to four in the first half.
Boston shot 53%, Washington shot 39%.
In the last nine games between the teams, the home team has won every time.
Oubre didn't make his first appearance of the game until the start of the second quarter, with the Celtics already holding a double-digit lead they'd never relinquish.
Avery Bradley has been doing all the little things to get the Boston Celtics over the hump this postseason.
The Celtics now lead the best-of-seven series, 3-2. "All indications are that he felt good after yesterday's game", Stevens said. His 29 - he rested in the fourth quarter and logged just 30:27 overall - left him one point shy of becoming the first Celtic other than Thomas to score 30 in game since Bradley on October 29 - the third game of the season. And they literally have nearly three guys on me and there's no way that I can keep going like that.
"I think that's been analyzed and studied since the game was invented".
Game 6 is Friday night in Washington and the Wizards will be hoping to force a Game 7 in Boston on Monday night. Four of the five games have surpassed the Game 6 over/under of 216.5, and Friday night's contest should be another high-scoring affair.